February was a really big month for me in that first year of sobriety. In February, I made nine months of sobriety. It was the month I finished my first time working right through the 12 Steps of A.A., and it was so worth it! When I got called up to pick up my nine month chip in my home group that Friday night, I was so proud to have made it to nine months, to be sober, to be less shaky about staying sober “just for today,” and to see that a bit more sanity had come into my life.
When I went up to the front of the A.A. meeting room to receive that chip, I was full of memories:
- Walking into that first meeting when I finally decided to get sober, my last beer in my stomach and my heart in my throat. I was so scared, scared that I couldn’t do it, scared that people would know me, scared about never being able to have another drink or toke again and what that would mean to my enjoyment of life.
- Those first few days when it was tough to hold on to the resolve not to drink, when I craved the booze and the easy highs of using.
- Getting my first 30 days in, almost not believing that I had made it and remembering each very difficult day getting there.
- Hearing about a Novelco program that was starting, where a group of people go through the 12 Steps of A.A. together in six months … and deciding to go for it.
- Spending those six months with a great group of people, sharing our struggles to make it through each step, and sharing the triumphs too.
There were so many personal highs and lows in working through the 12 Steps. Hard work, hard thinking, hard emotions, but light, so much light and ease as I moved through the A.A. program. My deep thanks for the fellowship and sharing of the group that went on that journey with me.
Even though there would be many more struggles to stay sober in the years to come, that foundation of serious efforts on the 12 Steps were very important to my recovery. The depth of sobriety I got in those first nine months was so worth celebrating. For anyone in recovery, I’d recommend making a big effort to get through the 12 Steps. From my experience, I can say, “it works if you work it!”
On a very sad note, I want to celebrate the life of my mother-in-law, Betty, who passed away in the early hours of this morning after a tough last few years of life. We had the pleasure of hosting her for many vacations and visits, where she shared her impish sense of humour and joie de vivre with us. I will miss her.