Four Years (5.12.17)

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It’s still amazing to me that I’ve gotten to this point. God willing I will continue on this journey, and will find the accumulation of each new year just as magical as the first. I remain a work in progress, and hope to be a student of sobriety for the rest of my days. AA has saved my life, and I must continue to give thanks for all that I’ve received by carrying the message of hope to others. It can be done. Life gets exponentially better! Please stay while you are here.

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I finally got my coin yesterday, as I left town on Friday and got back Tuesday. In a way, I’ve turned a corner on my recovery this year. Or maybe it’s just in my personal growth? I’m sure I’ve written here how I’ve struggled with my sobriety date. It’s a day of both pain and joy for me. The past three years I’ve absolutely dreaded the week of my sobriety date, because on the day before, I relive my car crash. Of course I don’t remember the crash, but I am wracked with guilt and pain because of it. Thanks to the intensive work I’ve done with my amazing counselor, this year I was at peace with May 11th. I see her again next week, and I cannot wait to tell her how I did last Thursday. Nothing I can do will change the events of that day, but it’s such a relief that I made it through May 11th this year without stirring up a horrible maelstrom of emotion. I acknowledged the past, I prayed for my victim and her family, and marveled over how I am alive today. What an incredible blessing!

Cheers, Friends!

 

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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.

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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?

Two Years!

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So I officially suck at blogging. Sigh. In my defense, I am crazy busy but it’s good busy! Since I was last here I turned 35, got a nasty case of food poisoning (well, that part was bad), started physical therapy for an ankle injury from my jailbird days, found out that I am getting sued (has to do with my accident – also bad, but there’s nothing I can do about it right now so I’m not stressing over it), finally moved my cat from my ex’s place into my apartment, got a promotion at work, and I am still juggling my mandatory four AA meetings a week. I also got my first sponsee last week, but now I think that isn’t going to work out. All I can do is wish her the best at this point. So yeah…I’ve been busy.

Oh, and as of today I’ve been sober for TWO YEARS.

Last year it was a huge relief to hit that one year mark. This time around, it snuck up on me. About a month ago, I had a couple days where I was overcome with anxiety and dread. It was triggered by an episode from Mad Men season seven. Don’s drunken behavior hit too close to home. Big surprise, right? Then I was going through a purse that I must not have used in eons because I dug out some old bar tabs. I quickly turned into a mess and called my sponsor. Instead of looking forward to being sober for two years, all I could think about was how this would be two years since My Accident. Since I went left of center while driving in a blackout and injured an innocent person. I guess this time of year will perpetually be bittersweet.

This blurb from today’s entry of the 24 Hour Book really struck me:

“Turn out all thoughts of doubt and fear and resentment. Never tolerate them if you can help it. Bar the windows and doors of your mind against them, as you would bar your home against a thief who would steal in to take away your treasures. What greater treasures can you have than faith and courage and love? All these are stolen from you by doubt and fear and resentment. Face each day with peace and hope.”

Progress not perfection, friends. I’m excited to see where this next year will take me.