Monday is my 1st birthday. August 8, 2010 I chose a new life…a life free of alcohol.
In the beginning, I never thought I could nor did I want to go this long without drinking wine, let alone the rest of my life. I remember a conversation I had with a friend about never being able to drink wine again. She was saying if I wanted to stay sober, I had to say goodbye to it forever. I was trying to tell her wine wasn’t my issue – tequila was!
If I had been real with myself then, I would’ve admitted to her and myself that my glass of wine with my meal was actually enjoyed while I prepared the grill to cook, while I grilled my steak and while I ate my meal. By then my glass had turned into the entire bottle of merlot. And because I didn’t want that feeling to dissipate so early in the evening, I most certainly had to follow it up with more until I either went to bed or passed out.
What a difference a year makes…
Because I grew up learning to question things instead of just accepting them as told, coming into the AA Program was difficult. Just doing what I was told without any explanation wasn’t really on my agenda…“admit you’re an alcoholic”…“find a sponsor”…“work the steps”. I wasn’t interested in doing any of this; I just wanted to learn how to drink like other people.
So that’s what I set out to do. I went to meetings, introducing myself as “Amanda and I have a situation” when I had to speak at all. I called my mentors when I thought I was going to drink but I genuinely thought my issue was situational and would go away once I could figure out how to control my drinking.
It took me 112 days into my sobriety for me to fully believe and admit my alcoholism. About a month later, I finally owned that God had put sponsors on this earth to help me and threw in the towel, asking someone to be my sponsor…and wow, did life change from that moment on.
I knew by then that I couldn’t get through my recovery with my own thinking – I kept screwing things up in my life. My sponsor must have known that about me as well because her first “suggestion” to me was to call her daily. And with every call, she had more suggestions as I shared with her what was going on in my stinkin’ thinkin’.
On a couple of occasions, I got angry with my sponsor for calling me out on some character defects. It hurt. I wanted to quit AA all together. I had decided I didn’t need this program. But the funny part of that is, the times I battled this most are the times I was taking in the most meetings. The noise in my head was so loud.
In the past year, I finalized a long and bitter divorce, dealt with a rare disease with my son, walked away from my career in an effort to maintain my sobriety, and had a very traumatic accident. And I have not taken a drink.
Because I have not taken a drink, I’ve also completely surrendered my life – every part of it – to God. I’ve met and made friends with some of the most amazing women – something I never thought I’d do. I currently have the privilege of sponsoring seven women – one of which I was able to help lead to Christ. I feel God is calling me to ministry.
Sometimes when I realize where I am in life, I stop and reflect in complete amazement. Oct 29, 2009 I wanted to end my life…two days later I was raped. I couldn’t fathom that the sun would rise another day.
Today I cannot imagine that my life could be more full and abundant. I have experienced so many things this year that I never have before, due to the freedom I have gained. Going to a ballgame with my kids was a new experience without a beer in my hand; Waking up without headaches everyday and without regret; Most recently, hanging out at the Bix Fest, remembering the entire evening, who I was with and what occurred.
But what I also know is the work God is doing in me won’t be complete until the day He calls me home, which allows me to believe that my life will get even better as I continue to work my program and unpack my bags. I believe that God will provide the things my heart still aches to find.
I have many regrets in life. I still fall and screw things up from time to time. But today I don’t have to drink over it.
My personal goals in my recovery over the next year are to slooooow down some and enjoy the blessings God has given me, work through the rest of my steps in the program, which in turn should allow the noise in my head to be at a volume that doesn’t require a crowd to drown it out.
Thank you to each of you who have supported me in this journey – in sharing your stories in the rooms, actually walking my road with me or in prayer for me. I pray God’s blessings to fall upon each of you.
I share my story in an open forum such as this in hopes it will help you wherever you are. If you have a story to share with me about how my blog has helped you in your situation, please post here as a comment or privately email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love your feedback!