Freedom

freedom

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.”

I made it! I’ve finally earned my freedom from felony probation after three years. This includes: a six month stay in a county jail, losing my home during that time (i.e. getting officially booted from my ex’s house where I had lived for eight years prior) along with my mind for a short period, resigning from my job, having to move back home with my mother after my jail sentence, being completely broke and having to sign up for government benefits and medical insurance, getting a new AA sponsor and going to new meetings in a new town, being sentenced to 4 meetings per week once out of jail, my license being suspended for three years, paying several thousand dollars of court costs, restitution, and BMV fines (after spending 12.5K on a lawyer), getting a job back with my university library in February 2015, moving back to Akron into a tiny studio apartment, living ON MY OWN (with no roommate or boyfriend) for the first time ever, learning how to live independently without a car (public transit here isn’t the greatest), having to get forms signed and get permission every time I left the state, getting sued, waking in up terror some nights wondering if I forgot to check in or do something correctly with probation, living in fear of being hauled off to prison (not jail – my judge was trying to get me 2-5 YEARS in prison) if I so much as sneezed wrong, and what else?

 

OH YEAH. During this time I’ve stayed sober! I found another new sponsor and new home group when I moved back to Akron, I reworked the steps, I started sponsoring, I started giving leads (other people call them speaker meetings) despite being terrified of public speaking, I became active in my home group, and in general I gave back to AA as much as I could because I owe this program my life. If it weren’t for the program and the fellowship, I would have crumbled. Instead, my life became better than I ever could have imagined.

After my accident, I wondered why I escaped death. I had all these obstacles in my path that I could not see an end to.  How could I do it? I felt like my life was over. There was seemingly no way out.

Kids, if you are new to the program please stick around. Be willing. Ignore the icky God stuff at first or merely think of it as “Good Orderly Direction”. Ask for help. Go to meetings. Get a sponsor. Work the steps. Grit your teeth and ride out all the new uncomfortable feelings. I promise it will pass and that it will get better. One day at a time it gets better, and we recover. I am living proof that this thing works.

Don’t ever give up on yourself. I’m so glad I didn’t.

 

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Amy

AMY

I saw the Amy Winehouse documentary “Amy” at an indie theater here in town on Saturday. Obviously, I knew how her story would end, but the film managed to break my heart anyway. Amy died in the summer of 2011, a little less than two years before I decided to choose a life of sobriety. It’s life or death, this whole sobriety business. And it’s hard work. It’s hard work for the rest of our lives, at least I know that’s how it will be for me. My disease lies to me constantly, telling me that it’s really not that big of a deal. But it’s a big fucking deal, and I can never safely drink ever again. Did I ever safely drink to begin with?

I am a fan of Amy’s music, and I find her to be incredibly talented. Her death leaves the mystery of what could have been, same with all the other members of The 27 Club. I remember reading about her disastrous nights out on the town, brawls with her husband, the complete downward spiral of her addictions. At the time, I was probably thinking the same as so many other people. What a waste of talent! Hot mess! Why can’t she get her shit together? Does she want to die?

Through the lens of sobriety, I was able to both sympathize and relate to so much while watching the documentary. Don’t get me wrong, our stories couldn’t possibly be any more different. But as addicts, we all have a lot in common. And I watched in horror as so much of her tragic story could have been prevented. As a celebrity, I cannot fathom how much harder life is. To be scrutinized constantly, followed by paparazzi. That is not normal life. Eventually she wanted to disappear, and I don’t blame her.  And she did disappear, thanks to the help of alcohol and drugs.

Towards the end of her life, she managed to string a month of sobriety together. She picked up again three days before her death. All I could think of while watching was “People, places, things!” That ALL has to change for a sober lifestyle to be maintained. Amy tried, but that piece of the puzzle was never there.

Amy, I hope that you’re at peace now, wherever you may be. Of course I hope the same for the countless people who die everyday from this horrible disease.

Have any of you seen the film? Thoughts?