bitterly cold, sunny, brilliant almost blinding day. Highs minus 15, but winds calm
It's January 2nd - for me a far more significant day than the 1st. This is my sobriety date. Today I'm celebrating 14 years without a drink! Not with a glass of champagne.
Don't normally talk about this - figure it's private. But recently some people in interviews have asked about a line in the acknowlegments for STILL LIFE, my first book. In it I talk about having gone through a time in my life when I thought I'd die from loneliness. When I wrote that I knew it was possible someone would ask about that time - and I knew if asked, I'd answer honestly.
And so I've recently talked about being an alcoholic. And what finally brought me to my knees - to the end of what I could stand - wasn't the booze, it wasn't embarrassment or shame or losing a job or a home. It was loneliness. I couldn't live with that ache, that howl, that hole another day.
And so I got help. 14 years ago today. This very minute, I was in my first 12 step meeting. And I still go. Who'd have thought I'd find myself (in every sense) in a stinky church basement. But I did. And I found a world of people just like me. And I found hope and relief, happiness, forgiveness, compassion and love. I found sobriety. And a belief in something larger than myself (hard to believe there's something larger than me!)
14 years ago I knew the best had been and it was downhill. And now? I have everything I could have dreamed of, and more. I came close to ending it all - I know how that feels. And I know how it feels to realize my life isn't ending, it's just beginning.
People sometimes laugh at the amount of gratitude I have - I think they suspect it's a bit much. A bit over-the-top. But the only difference between me and someone who didn't make it - from what I can see - is luck. How could I not be grateful? I'm not the brightest bulb in the box, I'm not the prettiest, the most deserving, the hardest working. I'm just damned fortunate.
Anyway - I wanted to share this with you. It's the most important part of my life - even more important than Michael, and he knows it. Because without sobriety there'd be no marriage, no Michael, no home, no friends, no books. No nuttin'.
Every Saturday I go to a 12 step meeting. I make coffee and set up the chairs and tables, and talk with people as they arrive. And I know I belong. How lucky is that?
This is a great day. Be well, be happy - and we'll talk tomorrow.