Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sweet 16

"I'm almost shocked that I'm still around after all of these years … and always grateful that I get another turn to do something."
Billy Crystal

It's been 16 years since I've felt it necessary to take a drink, and for that I am truly grateful.
Technically, it's been a little more than 16 years, but when I first started going to AA meetings I couldn't remember the actual date of my last drink. It was suggested that I just pick a date that was meaningful to me. More important than an accurate date was my decision to stop drinking.

I came to AA through the back door, as they say. My introduction to the 12 steps was in Overeaters Anonymous [I bet you're not surprised, are you?], where I became friends with a woman who was active in Al-Anon. So I started going to Al-Anon as well, where it didn't take long to realize that those people were talking about me.

November 12 is meaningful because that was the day, in 1990, that I stopped eating sugar. I figured I probably shouldn't drink it, either. Why I thought it was a Good Idea to start eating it again, I'll never know.

But I'm so grateful I have continued to not drink it. As are all the people who knew me then.

Many alcoholics switch their dependence from booze to food. Since the desire to drink often stems from emotional 'issues,' turning from liquor to food shouldn't be a big surprise. When I was drinking I was smaller than I was in high school because I rarely ate a proper meal. When I did eat, I didn't count the calories. But I really didn't eat much.

Which sometimes leads me to wonder, if I started drinking again, would I solve my weight problem?

Sorry, folks. I'm not about to try that experiment.

I had stopped drinking alcoholically eight years before I went to my first AA meeting – a long, long, dry drunk, punctuated every couple of years with the desire to quench my insatiable thirst. I had no idea that there was a way to live well without alcohol, didn't know anyone who went to AA, thought alcoholics lived under bridges and drank cheap wine. Realizing that I was an alcoholic, even though I had a job and a home and functioned in society, and further realizing that there was a way to live comfortably, sanely, was such a relief. All I ever wanted, really, was to feel comfortable.

All it took was going to meetings, opening my ears, shutting my mouth, learning from those who'd already done it, being willing to accept that my life would, eventually, get better. And it did.

I never expected my life would get this good, this satisfying, this fulfilling, this comfortable, when I stopped drinking. I just wanted to stop hurting. I wanted to figure out what was wrong, and make it right.
I was willing to do whatever it took.

And like Mr. Crystal, but for vastly different reasons, I, too, can't believe that I'm still around after all these years. And I'm grateful – so grateful – that every morning I get a new and fresh opportunity to live sober.

5 comments:

loretta123 said...

Ha! Loved that stinkin' thinkin' about losing weight if you started drinking again! LOL! Before I quit smoking for good (6 yrs ago), I remember starting smoking again and again so I could lose the weight I gained from quitting. Yeah, right! I like to say I'm climbing the ladder of recovery, one rung at a time. We're gettin' there!

Congrats for staying on the beam! One beam, one day at a time!

BigAssBelle said...

Which sometimes leads me to wonder, if I started drinking again, would I solve my weight problem?

well, no need to try that one. i've been there, done that, to no success. spent two years trying that while going to aa meetings every night. alcohol worked so well for me in controlling the weight for a period of time. then it quit and it all went bad and nothing worked.

the food seems to be a constant struggle. i wish i could get as much clean abstinence as years of sobriety (23, soon to be 24, god willing).

i always tell the women i sponsor "the only real failure is the failure to quit trying." i hear it, i hear it, i hear it. i try, i try, i try, i get a period of peaceful, free abstinence, it's magic, i love it, i'm connected, in the palm of god's hand, then i eat a cookie.

it's madness. but that's the nature of the disease. on the good life scale, mine's about a 9.75, so that's much to be grateful for.

thanks for reminding me and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Jonathan said...

Debi:

Congratulations on an amazing anniversary. And I'm guessing you're still going forward one day at a time. It reminds me of that old saying "a year from now you'll wish you started today."

Kudos to you, my amazing role model!

-J

Barbra said...

"I never expected my life would get this good, this satisfying, this fulfilling, this comfortable, when I stopped drinking. I just wanted to stop hurting. I wanted to figure out what was wrong, and make it right. I was willing to do whatever it took."

AMEN!!! and each day just gets better!!! This is truly "the easier softer way"!!!
Congratulations!!!

Stretch said...

Congrats on your strength and
Your post made me think it is all one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time. But it can be really good to know our self love is growing.