Today I celebrated 23 years of sobriety. It wasn’t with much flare or fanfare. There were no parades and celebrations. Just another day of hard work in the yard, and a major plumbing emergency. Life goes on.
I did receive my 23 year medallion at my local gathering of recovering inebriates. I consider them to be my “home-group.” They are my family, perhaps a bit more functional.
Many kind words were shared about what my recovery meant to each of them. I got a little teary eyed.
They were very kind. It’s still hard for me to receive compliments. I wonder if it’s pride or residual shame? Maybe it’s not important? It’s hard for me to believe that I no longer drink like a drunken pirate. I was never what you’d call a “gentleman drinker.”
I’m certainly grateful that my experience has helped a few people in their recovery. We get to keep recovering because we are encouraged to continuously help those who are still struggling. To keep it, you’ve got to give it away. That’s been my saving grace.
We reminded one another that the most important person in the room is the newcomer. There were a few new people. I got called an old timer for the very first time today. That’s humbling, but I needed to hear it. I was honored to hear it. There are no accidents, just godly coincidences. I was told coincidences are God’s way of staying anonymous.
Someone asked me what I’ve learned since walking this 12 Step path to freedom. That’s a good question. I’ve been reflecting on this question most of the day.
This is what’s been most important too me. On Page 85 in the A.A. Big Book it says, “We’re not cured of our alcoholism, what we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” This means that when I take time to connect and reflect on my relationship with God, I am granted a reprieve from whatever troubles me. I become the beneficiary of a spontaneous remission of symptoms.
Here Is My Program of Spiritual Maintenance
It’s pretty simple for me, this is what I do to be a useful human being.
1. I connect with God daily through meditation (listening) and prayer (talking) to God.
2. I take an inventory.
3. If I’ve wronged anyone, I make amends.
That keeps me busy.
I’ve learned many things from those who went before me. Most importantly, I was told to give people the dignity to discover what I’ve uncovered in my recovery. I don’t give it away. I was told to let the newcomer find their own answers. There was wisdom in allowing them to have their own experiences. It’s the only way most of us learn. It has served me well.
I am grateful for another day of living by God’s grace. I am thankful that I am sober. I glad I have my family, friends, and loved ones.
I am thankful to be a tool used by God. After all, God knows what a tool I can be.
Much love to you my beloved friends.
Pastor Jeremy E.