November 2, 2015 2 Comments
Five-hundred and Eighteen days ago I took my last drink. In two days I will have been sober for seventeen months. I quickly learned that if I was to remain sober I was going to have to place my sobriety above everything else in my life. For a long time, that was enough. I let go of my old life and embraced the new. Remaining sober became my full time job. For well over a year I immersed myself in thoughts of recovery from addiction; going to meetings, working steps and helping others who were struggling.
Recently I’ve been asking myself if there is more to life than this. With all that I have been through the answer is clearly, “yes”. But what do I want to make of my life? As I pull away from thoughts of sobriety my mind quickly turns to drinking. As I try to envision my future it is impossible to see one that doesn’t involve alcohol. It’s not the hopeless, drunken vision of the future that I had when I quit but neither is it a future firmly rooted in sobriety.
Of course the future is unknown. So far I have been unable to get myself to take that first drink. My visions are but delusions based only on what I have experienced. Not since I was twelve have I experienced such continuous sobriety. I find myself surrounded by uncharted waters. While there are those who have been here before me, I am not interested in following anyone else’s path. All I can do is take what I have learned and blaze my own trail.
Still, that’s an amazingly scary proposition. There is a commonly heard phrase in AA that goes, “the first thing you put ahead of your sobriety will be the second thing that you lose.” The lesson is that if we fail to make sobriety our top priority that we will lose it and with it everything that we have worked for. These are sage words indeed. Many have tested this premise and found it sound in reasoning. But I live a spiritual life, guided by reason perhaps, but propelled by passion. I find that whatever I hold most dear winds up controlling me. It is that attachment which becomes the burden and the source of my suffering. It is time for me to let of sobriety with the same courage with which I let go of the drink. In essence, I am putting my sobriety in God’s hands.