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The Beginning Of A Month-Long Celebration…


November 2012

November is a special month for me. I celebrate every single day of the entire month. I celebrate having the ability to have a wife and two fantastic daughters. I celebrate being on the right side of the grass, pumping air. I celebrate being able to love my wife. I celebrate having my business and a home, food on the table and two cats. I celebrate running and cycling. I celebrate having friends. I celebrate having a family. I celebrate having some of the best in-laws on earth. I celebrate having 10 fingers and 10 toes attached to two hands and feet and two arms and legs and a big ole’ slow pumpin’ heart… I celebrate, for 30 straight days, the fact that I can celebrate all of this because of one simple, profound decision made 20 years ago this November 18th in the middle of a sleepless, sweaty, shaky, hole in my heart night – in the middle of delirium tremens (latin for shaking frenzy) on the top bunk in a treatment center. I celebrate that, with my young life in a complete shambles, I chose life over death (this isn’t hyperbole, I was dying)… I chose to fight a disease that had me giving away all of the things I get to celebrate today. I celebrate my decision to live without alcohol.

On the 18th of this month I will celebrate 20 years without a drop. 240 months. 7,306 days. 175,344 hours. 10,520,640 minutes. 631,238,400 seconds. One year, one month, one day, one minute and often, especially in the beginning, one second at a time.

November is my month to celebrate that I have a sober life.

There is one last thing that I celebrate every November, all November long… This is a tough one for some. For me it wasn’t so difficult. You see, at the end of the struggle to find my bottom – to see just how low I could go, to see for myself just how much I would give up for a bottle, I had nothing left. I knew hell. But when you’re down as low as you can go, when you finally stop digging, when you see the bottom rung of the ladder just one inch higher than you can reach – no matter how hard you jump to try to grab it… Once you completely wipe yourself out trying to climb up the side of the hole to reach it, once you’ve spent every last bit of energy you have, once you’ve hung your head in defeat, once you’ve rested your head in your bloodied hands and completely given up… You look up and finally ask for help, truly beaten… To see one lone hand reach down and brush the matted hair back from your sweat covered brow, then the tears and dirt from your eyes, then your cheek… to have that hand grasp yours and lift you up to that first rung so you can finally start climbing out… It changes you forever.

I celebrate that God saved me from the hell I created.

*This post was published five years ago…  I’m up to 25 years this year.  11/18/17.
* Ten years ago… 30 years.  11/18/22


  1. Daniel Undem says:

    20 years is an amazing accomplishment. Congratulations. Enjoy the month long celebration.

  2. Sandra says:

    Amazing post. Congratulations, and thank you for choosing life. All of us out here in bloggylandia are much richer souls and have the strength to be better fitties because you are here. We really are.

  3. College Tri says:

    Truly inspiring post. I think I speak for everyone who comes across this post when I say congratulations and thank you for sharing your story!

  4. elisariva says:

    Congratulations. Sharing your story joe pulley will help others too. I celebrate you this month!

  5. JustI says:

    Absolutely wonderful!

  6. I’ll lift a glass of apple juice to you as I toast your celebration. I am one of those people who never found any appeal in alcohol — mainly because of all the damage I saw it inflict upon family members as I was growing up.

  7. […] month-long celebration of 20 years without a drop […]

  8. Wish I had seen this post last month! Well it’s never to late to read that post, especially sinc December is my month long celebration. It reminded me of something Charles H. said to me at 3 months “Mark, its good to see you starting to smile and see the color and sparkle in your eyes …. What ever you do, don’t settle for this. Don’t sell yourself short, there is so much more than you could even imagine if you will do the work.” Even that was an understatement! Belated Happy Birthday!!!

  9. kruzmeister says:

    Congratulations on you sobriety but mostly your courage to do something about it. That takes real character. Here’s to the next 20 years and beyond! – Simone

  10. […] celebrating my anniversary for the entire month of November, entitled (appropriately enough) “The Beginning of a Month-Long Celebration“.  I wrote it on November 2, 2012 and still read it every now and again.  It’s the […]

  11. bgddyjim says:

    Reblogged this on Fit Recovery and commented:

    Ah, it’s that time of year again ladies and gentlemen! My sobriety anniversary month is here again! I turn 22 years this month and it’s all good. If you’ve ever wondered what would possess a person to sober up, this is my best attempt at explaining the desperation.

  12. Sue Slaght says:

    Congratulations! Twenty years is amazing and definitely a month celebration is in order!

  13. dagowop says:

    Absolutely amazing. Congrats and thanks for sharing everything!

  14. […] here for the rest, if you haven’t read it […]

  15. […] It’s easily the best post I’ve ever written.  Please check it out here…  Especially if you want a quick glimpse into the hell that is alcoholism and the […]

  16. […] For those new to my blog, please take a moment to read the best post I’ve ever written… It recounts why I sobered up. […]

  17. Sue Slaght says:

    Jim I am so excited for you. Loved seeing my comment from years ago. You continue to be an inspiration. Bravo my friend!

  18. […] November is a special month for me. I celebrate every single day of the entire month. I celebrate having the ability to have a wife and two fantastic daughters. I celebrate being on the right side of the grass, pumping air. Read more here […]

  19. I was moved by your story. How blessed you are. And what a wonderful example for others. I suspect you have been that helping hand for others over these past 25 years. Respect.

  20. […] The Beginning Of A Month-Long Celebration… Easily the best piece I’ve ever written. I’m not an emotional fellow but I teared up reading it after I was done. This post explains why I celebrate the entire month of November, not just my sobriety anniversary on the 18th. I love this post. […]

  21. limetwiste says:

    Great idea to have a month long celebration. Will incorporate that into my life. Feeling grateful to be sober.

  22. […] Every year, since 2012 when I wrote the following post, I like to link to it around my anniversary.  It is, without question, the best thing I’ve ever written.  Please click here and give it a read: […]

  23. […] like to know how bad it was when I quit and why I celebrate the whole month, check out this post (click here). It’s one of the best I’ve ever […]

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