28 years ago today, two things happened. My favorite aunt died, and I took my last drink, from that day to this. I'd been trying, in that summer of 1985, to kick it. I'd been trying to get that beast to just shut up and stop calling me, stop grabbing me, stop sucking me empty from the inside.
When you find yourself teetering on a chair, armed with a broom, maniacally trying to knock scads of spiders off of the ceiling, it's not social drinking anymore. It took me ten years of boozing to get that far. I was dedicated. Ain't livin' long like this, am I baby?
I'd first gone to AA the year before, in 1984, and I'd string together a few months and then relapse. In the late summer of 1985, a 500-pound gorilla had assigned himself to ride on my back 24/7. I fought him off a day at a time, an hour at a time, for weeks on end. I'm talking about a very real pressure, almost a goading, to drink, that leaned on me every waking minute.
Finally, I did. When I saw my messed-up self in the mirror the next morning, with my head and heart pounding from the poison, I realized how much I had started to like the sober me I had been seeing up til then. I told myself to remember that moment, looking at wrecked me in the mirror. I never wanted to see that person again.
But the craving and compulsion came back soon enough. I'd done meetings, phone calls, literature, will power (ha!), the whole deal, and still I'd relapsed cos the hold was just too strong. So I prayed. I asked Goddess to take over and ride me through it, to get me past what I couldn't get past on my own; to see me through, sober, until morning. When the sun came up, there was one damn dead gorilla, and me still sober. I've stayed sober ever since, by the grace of Divine intervention. 28 years, today.
Addiction is no joke. My best friend from teenage days is dead because of it. I am only here because something bigger than me cared. I had no power over alcohol, but now I have the power to say "no" to that first drink, one day at a time. My son, my friends, my employer, none of them have ever had to deal with me drunk. I am nobody's expert at Life, but I know to treasure a gift when it's been given to me, and every day I wake up sober is a gift.
28 years. Today. Thank you, Goddess.