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.