It was five years ago today that I had my last drink as an alcoholic: May 07, 2007. For the full story of that day you may go to Losing Faith — VIII.
For the full story of my life over the last ten years, the first five of which were spent in alcoholic hell, you may go to the page Losing Faith, which is a page of links to the serialized autobiography. It is not quite, but almost, finished. Part XV is coming soon.
I really don’t keep track of the days and months and years. No, really I don’t. The only reason I keep any notice of it whatsoever is because other people keep asking me, “So, how long has it been?”
The culture of Alcoholics Anonymous puts a GREAT deal of emphasis on the date of the last drink and the elapsed time since. The first year they distribute different colored chips signifying the periods in months of sobriety. Each chip is a different color which signifies “danger,” “caution,” “grow,” etc. Then at the end of a year they give a one year chip and another chip for each year after that.
On the first year of sobriety that call that a “birthday,” and if it is announced beforehand they have a cake for you and lots of pats on the back. You get to stand up and give a speech on “How I Did It.”
I find it highly hypocritical and in general an enormous load of Bull Crap. For an organization that puts such a heavy emphasis on “One Day At A Time,” it sure is a whole lot of fanfare about the days behind you that are utterly unalterable. Especially in the early days when the most importance needs to be put on daily getting by and survival, the “recovering” alcoholic is looking forward into days of “how long until my next chip.”
Folks, “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” When you’re thinking of what you will get in the future and when you’re counting the days since your last drink, then you are missing the rewards of today and ignoring the trials that are staring you smack dab in the face.
I was alcoholic for 35 years. I was in and out of A.A. for all those years, and it just didn’t work for me. I quit after God removed the disease. I am not “recovering.” I am recovered. The only reason I look back now is because other people keep requesting it.
If A.A. works for someone else, then more power to them. Whatever gets you straight, Pal.
Anyway . . .
So, in the terminology of Alcoholics Anonymous, today is my “Birthday.” What did you get me?