A New Way of Living

29 May

When I was younger (much younger), I used to eagerly count down the days until my birthday. I couldn’t wait for my special day when the sole focus was on me and I would anticipate all of the presents I would receive.   Ok so maybe I’m not so different today. Today, I counted up my days of sobriety, 1826 to be exact, and I reached my 5-year anniversary. Or 5-year birthday, as many in recovery like to call it.

On your “regular” birthday, you celebrate the fact that you were born. Let’s face it – you didn’t do much. Your mother did all the work. But it marks the day you came into this world. Your sobriety anniversary or birthday, on the other hand, marks the day your new life began. A better life. A second chance. Something you did have a huge role in. It celebrates the choice you made to live.

My emotions run the gamut today, but what I feel mostly is gratitude. I think about the last drinks I had in NYC on Memorial Day weekend five years ago. I think about how awful I felt when I woke up, how my hands shook until I had a drink in me. I think about how ashamed I felt when I admitted I was an alcoholic. I think about how insurmountable the concept of getting sober seemed. And I think about how much better I feel now that I am sober. How proud I am of the fact that I didn’t pick up on the many occasions when I felt like caving. How grateful I am to those who stood by me and helped lift me up when I needed it.

I’m very happy to have my shiny, new 5-year coin. But I am also trying to remember my need to stay humble and strong. This disease is cunning, baffling and powerful. Today is just another day in the battle. It’s always there, ready to pounce. I’m still just a second away from picking up a drink and going back to the insanity.   But as my sponsor says, it’s okay to give yourself and ‘atta girl every once in a while and pat yourself on the back.

While I celebrate my special day, I am also painfully aware of the fact that there are so many out there still suffering. I wish I could somehow let them experience how I feel right now and let them know that they can get there too. Yes it’s hard work, but it is oh so worth it. To my friends who are struggling right now, please try to stay strong. Life is so much better on the other side of this wretched disease. And it is a disease. It is not a weakness or a lack of will power. Reach out for help if you need it. Turn to your higher power, whatever that is for you. For me, that higher power (or HP) is God. And I couldn’t have done this without my faith in Him.

I heard at a meeting today that getting sober isn’t about thinking your way into a new way of living, but living your way into a new way of thinking.   I really like that. I am living a new way, without drinking, with much more gratitude and with a much stronger connection to my HP. Doing so has resulted in a new way of thinking for me. Thinking that life is good. Sobriety is wonderful. And each day is a gift. So on to day 1827….

And, God bless those who gave their lives for our country. Talk about gratitude.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “A New Way of Living”

  1. Lisa Mahoney May 29, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

    So proud of you Martha, today and every day. You are an inspiration! Love you Scrunger!!

    • Bob Hisel May 29, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

      I love your honesty. Congratulations on your anniversary and may God Bless You with a lifetime of sobriety.

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