DRINKING ALCOHOL TAUGHT ME HOW TO FLY
THEN IT TOOK AWAY THE SKY

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

THIRTY-SIX YEARS AGO MARCH 18 (1974)



MY THIRD STEP PRAYER Dear Lord, My God, I am so grateful for this gift from You of sobriety; this gift which has allowed me to be another of those who can proclaim to any who would listen, Your LOVE, Your KINDNESS, Your PATIENCE, Your FATHERHOOD, Your OMNIPOTENCE!
 

Following are some thoughts on my first 24 hours of sobriety. For nearly twenty-five years I had sunk progressively into the alcoholic abyss of total self-centeredness, fear, EXTREME paranoia, and alcoholic insanity.

This is a slightly edited reprint of my March 18, 2009 blog post--after all it IS my Anniversary.  You will not read more about this after this day.

Five minutes before midnight on Monday March 18, 1974, I had my last and final drink of alcohol. At that moment I was infused with an opportunity available to many, but which comparatively few have accepted. It was an opportunity to begin a second life, to be one with YOU--that unique minority of humans who are fortunate enough to be given another chance. I was allowed to live two complete and distinct lives in one lifetime.

NOTE: I celebrate my anniversary based on the day of my "last drink"...I see no reason I must change. Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous Dr Bob had two beers the morning of June 10, 1935, and by night the same day he had completed Step Nine--even before there was a "Step nine". And AA continues to celebrate it's anniversary on June 10 each year, the date of Dr Bob's last drink!



Tuesday March 19, 1974 8:30 PM:

It was very dark that night (or so it seemed to me!) when I walked for the first time into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at Trinity-By-The-Cove Church, in Port Royal, into what was called then (and still is) "The Naples Group". Being "fashionably" five minutes late, I was thinking, "DUMB, Steve--look what you've done now. This is the stupidest move you have EVER made...you must really be sick!   I had expected to sneak quietly into the room, sit, shake, and sweat (the three s's?) in the back, and figure out "How am I going to get out of this predicament?"

All I needed was a few drinks to get me back to normal. Remember...I had my last drink just 21 hours before. (Yes, I had a desire to stop drinking--maybe until 9PM?) Yes, I certainly was willing to do ANYTHING to have a better life--anything......except stop drinking!


But do you know, at the same time, I had decided that I would never drink again.  I did not know how, because nothing before had worked for me. I did not know that I COULD "not drink" one day at a time!

Well, a fellow came walking fast, out into the parking lot, out from that meeting, almost falling down the few steps, to greet me, saying, "I'm Jim F...welcome." Then, no questions asked, he proceeded to guide me first into the meeting room, right past everyone. I "unobtrusively" bumped into a couple fellows, spilled someone's coffee, fell across a couple chairs on the way to--guess where?--the door at the other end of the room! So, already, I was ushered "in and out" of AA in 30 seconds.

Outside, he herded me across a small courtyard into a smaller, very smoky, very crowded room, called the "Beginner's Room". How did they know? The topic of this meeting was Steps One, Two, and Three.
Thank God, when I arrived, they were already on Step TWO! I thought, one-third of the meeting must be over! Because all I wanted to do was get out of there. Not one memorable (to me) word was said during that meeting, except what they all sort of shouted at one another before leaving--not to me, of course! "Don't drink" and "Come back next week." But do you know what? That's what I heard them say. That's exactly what I did!


THURSDAY MARCH 18, 2010

I have learned that God makes use of other people in order to work with us--and talk with us--and that's how God was working in my life, then...and now, allowing me to write to you and bear witness that a completely helpless, hopeless, powerless, very sick piece of human flesh, enslaved to the drug alcohol (and a few well-known pharmaceutical products) was picked up and delivered from alcoholic bondage, and made well again.

And I am granted a daily reprieve, contingent on my spiritual condition--no, wait--contingent on the MAINTENANCE of my spiritual condition. (Being completely human, my spiritual "condition" can vary greatly from moment to moment on any given day.)


Finally, I wish to say I am so grateful to my Higher Power, for bringing me to Alcoholics Anonymous. I'm grateful to Alcoholics Anonymous for giving me back my God, for giving me back my life. Thank God for giving me you, and thank YOU for giving me God!

And CERTAINLY not the least, all my blogger friends--my wonderful 'peeps'--have shown me SO MUCH about how to live, how to love (I'm still learning "how") and how to help others in many ways.
Within me is a fast-beating heart which burns with the fire of love for God, and all He has created, and you, my Peeps. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

In  Attitude Change, in Gratitude, and in LOVE!
Sincerely,
Steve E.

27 comments:

Ed G. said...

Congrats on your day!!!

Thank God.

Blessings and aloha...

Secretia said...

It is your "REBIRTHDAY"

Happy Rebirthday Steve!

Secretia

Wendilea said...

Brightest blessings to you on your New Life Anniversary!

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Happy SoBirthday (I like the re-birthday thought, that sounds right too!)

I'm so glad we were destined to meet and become friends! Your Spirit is contagious, cause well you share Him so well :)

Prayer Girl said...

Blessings on your 36th Anniversary of sobriety and for your ever changing life filling with joy and purpose.

Your wife,
PG

susan said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day an a cake too!

drybottomgirl said...

Emily Dickinson:
To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.


Congratulations! It's an honor to blog with you. Enjoy your day, today it's all about you as it should be. May God continue to bless you endlessly....

Kristin H. said...

Congratulations, Steve. I love hear about "the first day" and your's is inspiring.

Well done.

chitowngreg said...

Thanks for sharing this and please promise that we'll get to hear it again this time next year. Nothing is better than hearing about our introduction to the program and how much that it has meant to us. Congratulations!

Mary LA said...

Happy soberversary Steve! And many more --

Syd said...

Happy Birthday for your new life Steve. A great story. I'm glad that you have made so many years.

Julianne said...

Happy Birthday Steve! I'm grateful to have found your blog this morning. You have a powerful message!

Susan Deborah said...

Dear Steve:

It was very touching to read about your journey to recovery. I know how much it means to you. Did you celebrate with a big cake and Hershey's (your favourite chocolate)?

Happy day Steve. I am glad that you took that decision that day. AND that has made all the difference.

Blessings in abundance and peace,
Susan

Chef Kar said...

Beautiful post ~ beautiful gift from G-d ~ beautiful Steve. Congratulations on this, another 24-hours of sobriety. You wear it well. I am happy to walk among you (or would that be beside you?)

Happy Birthday. Hugs, Karis

Dulce said...

Oh YES
I remember those days when we used to celebrate until dawn... and look at you know.
Look at you, because you CAN thank the decision of your LIFE.

Happy anniversary Sweetest Peep!
Hugs and love --across the Atlantic.
;)

JStar said...

CONGRATS!!!! I KNOW how much this day means to you!!! Praise God!!!

Steve E said...

Mary LA: thank you for stopping by today!

chitowngreg: Hey guy, next year? I will do my best--or die trying!

drybottomgirl: Yep, living is being busy--and if it is busy with thing you enjoy, that is indeed a blessing.

This is a day I go to lots of meetings, hope I have time to get around to your blogs--everyone's, that is. Thank you SO much for being a blog-friend!

Kristin H: Thank you Kristin, Babe! You probably read the same thing before...but I am so glad you are still here, and me, too! And we'll all stay sober today, and love, and live!
PEACE!

susan: Happy day it is! but no cake...the day is not over. There is still my Home Group "Cookie Meeting" tonight!--COOOOKEEEE! Thank you for being here!

Prayer Girl: Thank you, wife. Yep, life IS constantly changing--but usually happily so, and we accept some change, and even find joy in it. Bless you, PG! HUGS!

Jess Mistress of Mischief: I like "re-birthday" also...let's start that here, OK, Jess?
See whether S. will go along!

You wrote "I'm so glad we were destined to meet and become friends!" Yep, THAT is one of the special joys in this fellowship--thank You, God!


Wendilea: "New Life Anniversary"...how sweet it is! I consider it the "second Life" sometimes, also. Thank you very much for being here with me/us today!!!

Secretia said..."It is your "REBIRTHDAY" Happy Rebirthday Steve!"
So THIS is where that phrase originated! Jess and I will be promulgating it--maybe! Shhhhh! Is it a secret? Thank you a lot for coming here today Secretia!

Ed G: Yessss, Ed, you say "Thank God! How aptly spoken are those words. Thank you!

Dulce: Celebrate until dawn? When did "dawn" happen? I don't remember dawn, until I sobered up--NOW you know more what it was like? Yesssss, Dulce, life is totally different these days--living, loving, remembering "last night" and sometimes even the day before--grin! Thank you for your SO sweeter comments from across the Atlantic. (I never ever EVER dreamed that dinner, a show, a party, work, a LIFE could be enjoyed without drinking alcohol.)

Hugs and love for you also, Canary.

Chef Kar: You express yourself in the most NICEST manner, Kari! I appreciate you visiting and commenting--from Italy...BTW, it's walk beside! Got it? "WALK BESIDE"!!!
Hugs back for you, Karis

Susan Deborah: Shhhhh! Please do not tell on me, but I DID, I DID stop at Walgreen's and bought FOUR big HERSHEY BARS today, on sale, of course! It brings happiness to know you come here and read my posts...and I read your wonderful sharing as well.
PEACE, Susan!

Julianne: Hey I signed up on your blog today, glad you found your way here. In your choices of who to follow, you have picked real WINNERS, lots of quality sobriety...but SHHHHHH, don't tell them I said so--grin! (And I did NOT mean muyself, you know that! Thanks for visiting and commenting. We shall get to "know" you...I read you first blog posting also, and left a comment.

JStar: You wrote: "CONGRATS!!!! I KNOW how much this day means to you!!! Praise God!!!"

Yep I DO know appreciation for this day--and you know what? It is actually EVERY day which means a lot--when ya get my age--grin! And what a way to end my responses here, as you wrote, and I say "PRAISE GOD!!!"

Gabriella Moonlight said...

Happy Date O'Sobriety!!! I am so honored to read this and yet feel so inspired by the person writing it...thank you and to many more Re-birthdays!!!!

xxo g

Kim A. said...

And people still doubt that there is a reason and a purpose for each of us. That we are loved and loving. That we matter and we make a difference. You are the living proof to me, today, that my faith is strong, that I am never alone, and the I matter, too. Happy Sobriety, Rebirth, Joy, Freedom, and Love, Peep.

♥namaste♥

Nessa said...

Wow. So many years of one day at a time. Wonderful.

And congratulations!

T 13 - Magical Creatures

Hap Joy Free said...

Beautiful story from a beautiful alcoholic!

Happy AA B day, Stever, one day at a time! :)

Wanda's Wings said...

Great Job! Thanks for your encouragement on my blog.

Margie said...

May life always bring you many blessings!
Congrats on all those years of sobriety, something to be very proud of!

Margie :)

Enchanted Oak said...

God and AA have surely done a mighty work in you. Great testimony. Wish I were there to give you a hug. My 2nd year anniversary is Tuesday the 23rd. Had 15. Lost them because I didn't maintain my spiritual condition. But this miraculous program works when you work at it.

Steve E said...

SYD: You are always here, there, and everywhere. And your dedication to these blogs, your wise counsel, your wit...is appreciated and welcome--always.

GABRIELLA MOONLIGHT: Girl, when I see you around the "tables" of bloggery, I know something worthy is being said, or written, and I pay attention. thank you for commenting here on my anniversary.

KIM A: Yep, a reason and purpose for each of us. Our only mission is to fulfill that purpose, to "matter", to make a difference. You do that also, and you matter.
PEACE! Thanks for coming here often!

NESSA: Thank you for your visit here, I went over to see what you are up to these days, and glad I did!

HAP, JOY, AND FREE: My today was a WOW! day...and I hope for you to have as many of these as me!
PEACE!

WANDA, Oh it is SO good to see you comment here. Please keep on "giving" of yourself, however much or little God will allow. It is helpful for you, and me/us too!

MARGIE: When you are blogging, you are EVERYWHERE! Thanks for your wishes, and encouragement.

ENCHANTED OAK: Ya know, I do not believe God will count how many years we had sober--grin! He may "count" what we have done, with what He had given us.

Congratulations on your "15" and your "2"...I know this is heresy, but to me, 15+2=17, NMW (No Matter What!). When the student is ready ..the teacher will appear...THEN it is up to the student, not before!

You are so supportive and helpful to me. Your AA experience, whatever the number, is yours forever, to give away in gratitude.
PEACE!

Sh@KiR@ CK said...

CONGRATULATIONS , Steve!
I am so happy for you.
GOD KNOWS BEST.

I just want to tell you that I can feel your determination just by the title of your blog.
That is a very brave and WISE statement.

You are in my prayers.

hugs
shakira

Superfluous Brunette said...

Congrats! God chose the right person to use for this mission. You have helped so many I am sure with their struggles of addiction and we are all so grateful to have you hear in blogland to share your stories and wisdom.