Best of luck to our friends and colleagues at Sunrise New Jersey and in the rest of the Northeast. May you be as fortunate as we were here in Florida!
The past ten days have been something else, folks! I’ve been to my 50th High School reunion, seen old friends I hadn’t seen for literally half a century, took a lot of great pictures, survived the edge of Hurricane Sandy, and tomorrow my older daughter is going to present us with our first grandson.
I don’t usually lean heavily on the gratitude thing around this time of year, because I figure everyone is going to get plenty of that in meetings and on other blogs over the next month. However, I couldn’t think of a good Halloween theme (except maybe the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde I used to be), and this has been such a remarkable week that it’s impossible for me not to consider some of the wonderful things that have happened to me over the years of my sobriety, and how much I owe to my program of recovery.
I have a marriage that’s better than I could ever have managed before recovery, even if I hadn’t been a drunk. I brought so much baggage to both of my marriages that I managed to blow the first one completely, and nearly wipe out the second one — with another alcoholic, this time. The fact that the relationship lasted through 12 years of drinking and drugging together, the early years of recovery — where many relationships founder on the rocks of newly-discovered incompatibility — and the succeeding years of progressively healthier living still amazes me. I’m equally amazed at the lives we’ve managed to put together from our experiences.
Then there’s our kids. Apparently we managed to get across the fact that we loved them, even though there was more than a decade of pretty rough years in the beginning. I couldn’t ask for better relationships than we have now, and I attribute that not only to the love part, but overwhelmingly to the changes that recovery brought. They like me; they really like me!
I could go on and on: my job(s), both of which bring me a lot of satisfaction; the joy of seeing Michele blossom in her profession; knowing that we’re both helping others out of the morass of addiction; the changes in my personality that make me an incomparably nicer person than I used to be; the pleasures of new and old friends; the ability to enjoy a quiet evening at home with my best friend and our cats without wondering if we need to see about replenishing our supply of booze or other drugs in order to get through the night. And on, and on…
None of these things would have been possible, were it not for recovery. I was a pretty miserable s.o.b. before I became a drunk and druggie. My self esteem was in the toilet, I had no focus in life beyond self-gratification and getting what I wanted — or thought I wanted — no real ambition, and no idea of how to apply myself to accomplish one if I’d had it. Recovery, the 12 Steps, a loving family, a spouse who loved me enough to follow me into this new life, sober friends, and trying to do the “next right thing” have given me the tools to achieve the life that I have today.
Grateful? Uh-huh. Just a little bit.