Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A number...

On December 1, 1983, I flew home from an awful week in Las Vegas.  I'd been there at a trade conference and, when I reflected back on my behavior that week, I could feel nothing but shame and embarrassment for the previous week.

 As soon as the drink cart came, I ordered 2 drinks and made sure that the bottle I'd stashed (you could never trust them to get back with those damned carts when you needed them - especially on a 1-1/2 hour flight!) was easily reached and just felt awful.  To the core, awful.

I then had what I now know of as 2 moments of clarity:
  1. I just wanted to step out of the airplane at 30,000 feet and step into oblivion.  I'd failed at previous suicide attempts but I just completely abhorred who I knew myself to be.  I reflected on my family, my business, my church, my business dealings, my life - and, I just couldn't think of a single situation that would not have been improved if I were removed from the picture.
  2. I'd been involved in intensive family therapy, marriage counseling, personal counseling, and various other forms of therapy for a number of years.  I'd read every self-help book that I could find.  Several times the suggestion was offered that I moderate my drinking - maybe just for a little bit of time. While it might have been true that, as I always argued (pretty convincingly), my drinking was not the problem, it was equally and undeniably true to me in that moment that it was not part of the solution to the myriad problems I had going on in my life.  If, in fact, it wasn't part of the solution, it was curious to me (just that) how strongly I argued for my "right" to be able to drink.
I landed and I don't remember getting home (not unusual) but I do remember talking to my then wife about going to a meeting the next day before I passed out for the night (I was long past ever going to sleep w/out passing out).  She had been in the program for a few months at that time.

The next night, shaky, feeling awkward and dressed in my best 3-piece suit, I showed up at a meeting at a club house.  It certainly lived down to my expectations but that night, for the first time, I went to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and admitted I was an alcoholic (it seemed like what they expected me to do...).

That was December 2, 1983 and, by the grace of God, expert sponsorship and the wonderful program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I've not had a drink of alcohol or taken anything that's affected me from the neck up since that day.

Thank you for 26 amazing years...


Mary LA said...

Congratulations Ed, what a wonderful gift of 26 years of sobriety!

Scott said...

God Bless, congrats, well done a day at a time and Thank God you found the rooms and were ready to be sober!

have an awesome day!

Mary Christine said...

Happy Birthday! Thank you for sharing. So glad you are here. 26 years, awesome.

Syd said...

Ed, you are an inspiration to many. Congratulations on those 26 years one day at a time.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

Congratulations! What a powerful post to go with your Birthday!
Thank you for sharing, so glad you're here!

xo G

Prayer Girl said...

Congratulations on your 26th anniversary of sobriety. What a blessing to be able to move from that hopeless state you so perfectly described to the wonderful life you live today.

Thank you AA. Thank you God.

Steve E said...

There cannot be one person--including me--who is not grateful that you are here to give us your "stuff of growth". Congratulations to you and God, for 26 years!

Kim A. said...

{{big happy hug}}


~Christina~ said...

Very inspiring....congrats on staying sober...today!

Ray Palmer said...

That's awesome! After getting out of sober living rehab things can be tough. You are proof that the 12 steps work and YOU are a miracle.

Scott W said...

Congratulations, Ed. 26 years is a HUGE deal! Thank you for your service and for keeping the doors of AA open to others like me.

garden-variety drunk said...

Happy Birthday Ed!!!

Pam said...

Happy Birthday to you!
(singing softely but not quit Marilyn Monroe soft)
Happy Birthday to you!
(swaying back and forth holding a cup cake with a candle on it)
Happy Birthday Dear Mr. Ed!
(singing loud and not giving a damn who hears)
Happy Birthday to YOU!
(head pointed up like a Basset Hound Yooooooooo)

dAAve said...

Happy birthday Ed.
It's amazing to be who we're really supposed to be, eh?