Friday, April 27, 2012

That first year....

There's something special about a "first". Your first kiss, your first love,
your first child, your first year of sobriety. A lot of people won't experience the last "first". They either won't have to, or they just won't make it. A week ago A celebrated his "first year". He's a sweet young kid (30ish) who just happen to be celebrating turning one! That ear to ear grin he wore the entire meeting was enough to make even the hardest of hearts turn soft. So many people went around the room and talked, and congratulated him, and then it was his turn to speak.

"I came into AA broken. Mentally, physically ( I had just been in a horrible car accident and had a broken shoulder, ribs, and was in a neck brace) and spiritually. I had no idea what I was doing, if my wife was going to be there when I went home, if I still had a job, if life was worth living. You people taught me it was. Little by little things got better, little by little my mind cleared. My wife stayed with me, my employer kept me working, my body, mind, and spirit healed. Now one year later I can't imagine my life with a drink."

We've all been there. That broken mass of confusion that just needs to find a path. Some instruction on how to live. I always tell people, "after high school when they were handing out instructions on how to live your life, I didn't show up. Too hung over from the night before". And when you don't know how to live, life gets very tough. At least now I have a better sense of who I am, what my purpose is, and where I am going.

There are times when I forget that first year of sobriety. How each day is so fought for. How there were moments at the end of the day when every fiber and nerve cell were screaming "I need a drink". How I didn't think I would ever sleep without being half intoxicated. How heavy my heart was, and how cloudy my mind was. Taking out my skeletons, tossing them away one by one, getting rid of years of useless luggage that I carried around. Staying in today, asking for help, and saying thank you at the end of the day. These were the simple acts that my life was missing. A friend of mine who I haven't talked to in a while gave me a call to just say "hi" the other day. When I said my prayers, his call was on my gratitude list. Those tiny gestures that make all the difference.

Being in my third year of sobriety, life has changed. Things are different. My oldest just took his ACT's. We are touring a college in the Twin Cities next month. He has become a man. That sweet little "first born" is getting ready to leave. There are times when I am excited, and terrified all in the same breath. But mostly I am anxious to watch him become the person he is suppose to be. For now I have one more year of him at home. I plan to celebrate it all. Kissing my two youngest before bed the other night made me realize that they are almost the same height as me. (not hard when you are 5'3) Tonight they have a dessert concert at school and they are so excited to perform. Life is ever changing.

My hubby and I are getting older. I've noticed gray patches at my temples. I now need readers for up close, and after a day of hard yard work out bodies pop and snap like firewood. But life is different. It has a peace that the first year of sobriety didn't bring. There are still ripples in the pond, but no longer waves of emotion. Life rides on a much more steady course.

I keep my yearly coins in a special butterfly box a friend gave me. When I came home last week I went into my room and opened that box. My first year coin is beautiful. My sponsor special ordered it for me and I love the weight of it. It signifies the long journey of those 365 days. And its important as you move into sobriety that you remember that it wasn't too long ago when things weren't so good. I smiled as I placed them back and put the lid on. I am truly grateful and I hope that box has room for many more.......