Today is my Twentieth Soberversary

I have been sober today for twenty years. To me, anniversaries ending in “0” or “5” are monumental. I don’t know why, it just seems that way.

I had to let that sink in. Twenty years. While I am not trying to act out the sin of pride, if you knew me way back when around 2001 and 2002, you’d laugh at the idea of me getting twenty days sober, much less twenty years.

I never had that ‘spiritual awakening’ described in the Big Book of AA; no ‘white light’ or anything like that. My spiritual awakening was of the more gradual kind. I stopped going to liquor stores because I was physically unable to go (which caused a brief period of sobriety of 3 1/2 months); then I returned to drinking over the stress of visits of certain family members; then I stopped because I ran out of booze and it was too late to get to a liquor store. I think during the day I was prevented from going by the family visit and a miscalculation of the amount of booze I had on hand. I don’t recall. So, at some point late in the evening of Wednesday, May 22, 2002 I stopped drinking and went to bed. This was followed by 88 hours of insomnia culminating in some trippy hallucinations. 

I’ve done AA. I began attending meetings in June 2001; didn’t sober up at first until February 2002, but like I said above, relapsed in May. I haven’t considered myself a regular meeting goer since 2004, when I left a meeting in my old Home Group in anger. (I may have blogged about it before, but according to a search of my blog, I apparently didn’t. I’ tell that story in a separate blogpost.) I briefly returned to regular attendance in 2014, but it only last a month or two. I didn’t fit in. I guess I’m just a misfit in a fellowship of misfits. I find AA and the Twelve Steps useful, whilst I don’t bother with meetings, I frequently read the literature when I need a dose. 

Anyway, today is the Feast Day of St. Rita of Cascia. She is known as the patron saint of impossible cases. And, I was quite an impossible case. It’s possible I imagined it, but I think she picked me to be her client. And here’s how she can help YOU in your recovery. As long as I’m posting links to posts on her, you might like this one.

Two other saints assisted in my recovery. One is St. Maximilian Kolbe, founder of the Militia of the Immaculata. I found the his Total Consecration to the Blessed Virgin to have been particularly crucial as it provided a tremendous flow of daily graces firming up my convictions and direction (staying sober); as well as of providing a framework within which I can develop my Faith. (NOTE TO SELF: please complete the ‘Daily Marching Orders from Mary’ post. It’s been in draft mode long enough.) Another is the Venerable Matt Talbot, whose way of recovery focuses on transferring your love of booze on to Jesus. You make a gift to Him of your addiction and a relapse means you are taking that gift back. His Way of Recovery is detailed in this excellent book, which all “Sober Catholics” should  have. (There are other saints I am devoted to. St. Therese of Lisieux is another. That book I linked to in the previous sentence suggests that she is ‘the theologian’ of the Matt Talbot Way of Sobriety. Study her “Little Way” and things won’t be the same for you; particularly her thoughts on God’s mercy vs His judgment.).) 

I think I’ll go write that post about why my last regular AA meeting was in 2004 (I don’t count my return in 2014 as it didn’t last long.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

7 Comments

  1. Pingback: Why I stopped regularly attending AA meetings - Sober Catholic

  2. I’m so happy for you. I especially love your devotion and those saints who are your friends.

  3. Pingback: An invitation to join Catholic Recovery: A safe, redemptive place on Reddit - Sober Catholic

  4. Congratulations on your continued sobriety! Memorial Day 1990 is my anniversary, so this time of year is special to me, too. I stopped going to meetings more than 20 years ago, when I married and then 10 months later gave birth to our first child together. Meetings, for many years, were a source of friendship and structure (from which I learned self-discipline) that I had never known, and meant a great deal to me, despite the frequent opportunities for developing and nurturing resentments, haha. When my husband and I married, everything of course changed, including my address, and once that was interrupted, it was hard to get back into it. I continued frequenting my favorite meetings, even though they were 20 – 30 miles away, until my daughter was born. Even then, I tried a few local meetings, but I was really afraid of losing my anonymity, especially since I had heard (she might have mentioned it to my husband, actually, but I don’t remember) that my husband’s ex –not an alcoholic– was attending meetings “for their spiritual benefit”, and I really didn’t want to cross paths with her (or anyone who knew her, and might be able to put two and two together from any details I might share) there. My dad was a recovering alcoholic for nearly 50 years when he died, and I was raised on AA spirituality as filtered through the Catholic faith — something that has served me very well, both in and out of the rooms. The 12 step approach is one I find very accessible, and I return to it often. I recently came upon your blog when I was doing a meditation on resentments, and have really appreciated finding you. I intend to check in regularly!

    • Congratulations on your sobriety as well as managing without regular meeting attendance.Thank you so much for finding my blog. There are plenty of posts dating back fifteen years that you can spend reading in between new posts!!

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