For nearly twenty-five years I had sunk progressively into the alcoholic abyss of total self-centeredness, fear, EXTREME paranoia, alcoholic insanity and a life of utter chaos. Alcohol became as necessary for me to live...as air. It became my God, because whatever task assigned to me, my thought was constantly on the moment I'd be able to drink. "Soon...noon" I'd say to myself.
Following is a slightly edited reprint of my March 18, 2009 and 2010 blog post--
Five minutes before midnight on Monday March 18, 1974, I had my last and final drink of alcohol. At that moment I was infused with an opportunity available to many who suffer from the disease of alcoholism, but which comparatively few have accepted. It was a moment of choice, a turning point. I could continue to be among the "Unknowing", heading for certain and early death, or begin a second life, to be one with YOU--the minority of humans who are fortunate enough to be given another chance. I was allowed to live two complete and distinct lives in one lifetime. EVEN THOUGH I WANTED NO PART OF THIS DAMMMM'D AA CRAP!
It was very dark that Tuesday March 19th night (or so it seemed to me!) when I walked for the first time into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Naples, Florida. Being fashionably five minutes late, I was thinking, "DUMB, Steve--look what you've done now. This is the bottom of the barrel--the stupidest move you have EVER made...you sooo must really be sick!" My plan had been to sneak quietly into the room, sit, shake, and sweat (the three s's?) in the back, and figure out how to get out of this predicament.
All I needed was a few (the proverbial "Couple Drinks, Judge--tha's all I ever had". LOL!) drinks to get me back to normal. Remember...I had my last drink just 21 hours before. (Yes, I had a desire to stop drinking--but only until after this AA meeting!) Yes, I certainly was willing to do ANYTHING to have a better life--anything...except stop drinking!
That same night though, I somehow knew that I would never drink again. And my job at the time was...BARTENDER, 6 nights a week! I did not know how sobriety for me could happen, because nothing before had worked. I did not know that I COULD "not drink" one day at a time!
Well, a fellow came walking fast, out from that meeting, almost fell down the few steps, out into the parking lot smiling (Ugh!) and said, "I'm Jim F...welcome." Then, no questions asked, he guided me first into the meeting room, quickly past everyone. I "unobtrusively" bumped into a couple fellows, "unobtrusively" spilled someone's coffee, fell across a couple chairs on the way to--guess where?--OUT the door at the other end of the room! I was 'in and out' of AA in one minute?--grin!
Outside, Jim herded me across a small courtyard into a smaller, very smoky, very crowded room, called the "Beginner's Room". How did they know? The topic of this meeting was Steps One, Two, and Three. Thank God, when I arrived, they were already on Step TWO! I thought, one-third of the meeting must be over! Because all I wanted to do was get out of there.
Nothing did I remember from that meeting, except what they all shouted at one another at the end-not to me, of course! "Don't drink" and "Come back next week." But do you know what? That's what I heard them say. And that's exactly what I did!
PLUS 37 YEARS: THURSDAY MARCH 18, 2011
Please Note: This 37th year has been the most difficult of my sobriety. Every mistake of mine can be turned into an experience which can help others. Any strength I've discovered in asking God to help me deal with failures can one day be given to another. Any hope I conjured will be the hope I can transmit any time to one who is hopeless. Peeps, our program works! If you wish more specifics, write me: firstname.lastname@example.org (I am an open book, but not in the public domain--grin!)
This I have learned: that God makes use of other people in order to work with us--and He talks with us through others--and that's how God was working in my life, in 1974...and now. I write this as witness that a completely helpless, hopeless, powerless, very sick man, age 40, enslaved to the drug alcohol (and a few other well-known pharmaceutical products) was scooped up and delivered from alcoholic bondage, and made well again.
Finally, I thank God for giving me you people, and thank YOU for giving me God!
And right here right now, blogger friends--wonderful 'Peeps' you all are--have shown me SO MUCH about how to live, how to love, and how to be of service in many ways. You have even spoken to me in your silence. Within me a heart burns with a fire of love for God, all He has created, and you bloggers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
In an Attitude of Gratitude, Service, and Love!