Ten Years Sober, today

Today marks the 10th anniversary of my sobriety.

I was trying to come up with some wise and profound reflections to mark the event, but nothing much came up. Kind of sad really, but ten years is still ten years. A remarkable accomplishment, if I say so myself considering what my very early period of AA meeting attendance was like and that it took about 7 months of attendance before I sobered up. And that was largely due to being physically unable to go to a liquor store to resupply myself, rather than some “spiritual awakening as a result of the Steps.”

Perhaps that is one of the reasons I relapsed in May of 2002. Not to place blame or credit where any is due, but I had just nonchalantly wandered into my favorite liquor store one May day and bought a pint of vodka. I remember feeling alternately stressed over an impending visit by a family member (a usual cause of stress in those days) but also feeling good. I puzzled over all that wayback then. I gave up trying to discern the why’s of my return to drinking after 3 1/2 months, it just happened for whatever reason. Three-and-a-half months of sobriety isn’t much to mull over.

And so I drank again for a couple of weeks. On May 21, 2002 I went to an AA meeting at my Home Group and read “How It Works” from the “Big Book” with a slurred voice. And so the meeting became about me. It is the custom that when a member relapses, the others in attendance discuss the first 3 Steps. I do not remember anything that was said, except feeling shamed and grateful.

I returned the next day, and it was a newcomer’s meeting. (My old Home Group did not have the custom of separating newcomers from old timers. All were grouped together.) I left, feeling like a hypocrite.How could I say that AA worked when I had failed? That was my thinking.I left because I felt I had zero credibility. Irresponsible, yes. But that is what I did.

I went to eat dinner at a Chinese restaurant, and afterwards stopped by my favorite liquor store again and bought a liter of vodka. I nursed myself to sleep with that, later that evening.

When I awakened the next day, that would be the last sleep I would have for 88 hours…

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

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