One Year Ago

My sentencing was one year ago today.

That morning I was escorted out of the courtroom amid the sniffles and sobs of many family members, friends, AA contacts, and colleagues. It was the worst day of my life.

This anniversary has been weighing heavily on me in many ways. I’ve been dreaming about my time in jail constantly, I think I see corrections officers on the street or around campus while I’m working. My time away continues to affect me in weird and profound ways, and I plan on documenting my experiences here.

I had hoped to write about the events of June 9, 2014 here today, but my schedule is wonky. I had to work late, and I have to open the library in the morning (I hate opening shifts – I’m so not a morning person). And well, the Cavs are on (ha). But I plan on doing so in the next couple days.

Until then…

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My First Lead

Hi hi hi hi hi!

I hate that I’ve turned into the world’s shittiest blogger. I’ve never been good with balance, and now that my professional life is booming my writing here is nonexistent suffering. But I’ve got to roll with it. Before I was incarcerated, I was bored to tears with my job. Granted, I got hired back by the same university library (which really was a blessing), but this time in a different department. A month ago I sort of fell into another   position when a coworker left for a new job. I was stoked to get this position, and it’s been incredibly challenging. Everything is continuing to fall into place for me, and I’m feeling great. So much good stuff is happening! But I think of you all in the sober blogosphere so much, and curse myself for not writing as often as I used to. I’m one of those folks that will get great ideas while performing mundane tasks (dishes, showering, etc.), but when it comes time to sit down and write, all those great ideas have vanished.

Earlier today I thought to myself that I needed to post an update today. Naturally I forgot, until I got a WordPress “Your stats are booming!” notification on my phone. That was the kick in the pants I needed. No idea why said stats are booming, but here I am.

As was previously posted, my two year soberversary was Tuesday, May 12th. I gave my first AA lead on the following Sunday, the 17th. This was not a planned lead; it was sprung on me about 10 minutes before the meeting.

fuckshitpanicOMGfuckshitpanicOMGOMGOMGPANIC!!!

I was bit freaked out.

I go to two large meetings in a row on Sunday mornings. The first is a discussion meeting, the second is a lead. I announced my soberversary during the first meeting. I was talking to a buddy during the break between meeting one and two when I was approached by E. to lead.

At first I thought he meant next Sunday, but I soon realized that he meant for the next meeting. Turns out his scheduled lead was unable to make it, so I became his next victim. At first I almost turned him down, but I said yes. In AA when you’re asked to do something for the good of the group, you always say yes. I was sitting next to my treatment counselor at the meetings like I always do, and she was so tickled when it was announced that I was going to share my experience, strength and hope with the group.

Of course this isn’t a standard meeting. It’s a big meeting in an auditorium, with a podium and a mic. Public speaking is pretty much the worst thing I can be asked to do. My fear of it is so great, that I’ve dropped college classes that required a lot of presentations. The first thing I did was crack a joke about how had I known in advance that I would be leading that morning, I would have at least bothered to shower for everyone. With these meetings, I usually roll out of bed, grab some coffee, and go. For those of you not familiar with AA, people who lead always dress up. I was in jeans, a t-shirt, flip flops, hair in a ponytail, no makeup. Classy gal I am! Oi…

Because I had such short-notice and my rising panic took over my brain, I didn’t give a typical lead. It was…around 10 minutes long. But in that time span I was able to give a concise talk about my lowest moments, how it all started, what it’s like today and how absolutely grateful I am for this program and the fellowship. The comments, thanks and feedback from others lasted twice as long as my lead. Everyone was so sincere and sweet. Even after the meeting I had a line of people waiting to shake my hand or hug me, and give me their thanks. Apparently I struck a chord with many, especially with a lot of newcomers. I’ve gotta admit, it felt incredible. I hugged E. after the meeting and thanked him for asking me.

Sobriety is full of unexpected blessings. The longer I’m sober, the more I can see God working through the actions of others. My lead and that entire morning was God doing for me what I could not do for myself. Had I been asked to lead the following Sunday, I would have spent the entire next week being nervous as hell and not sleeping. I’m so grateful to have had that experience! I spent the rest of that day walking on air, and as of today, I still have folks from that meeting approaching me and thanking me. All for sharing a sliver of my story. Pretty cool, right?