Three days to go. 72 hours – the amount of time I wait to act on bad news (where applicable of course, some situations obviously require immediate action – the big things can generally wait a few days so I don’t act on emotion which leads to more “reasoned” action). I’ve been looking forward to November 18, 2012 for roughly 19 years and the day is only three short days and a wake-up away.
Through my recovery I’ve celebrated every year but there have been a handful of really important ones:
November 18, 1992: Day one, shoveling pig shit at Dawn Farm hungover as hell (I can still remember vividly the nausea and how I felt).
November 18, 1993: One year – previous attempts at staying sober had lasted anywhere from 12 hours to 3 weeks. This was a biggie.
November 18, 1995: My girlfriend threw me an unbelievable surprise party for three years. There had to be 15-20 people at her house. One month and seven days later I got down on one knee in front of the Christmas tree and that girlfriend accepted my proposal to eventually become Mrs. BgddyJim. [I remembered the location of this party incorrectly – Mrs. Bgddy pointed out that the 3 year anniversary was at her house, the 5 year was at a restaurant and was huge – I corrected the post after it was initially published]
November 18, 1997: Five years – The vast majority of alcoholics that quit fall back to drinking by this day. Somewhere along the lines of 90-95%. Dawn Farm’s success rate when I went through was 85% – almost opposite that of other trends. There’s something to shoveling pig shit on your first day.
November 18, 2002: Ten years. This is when they say the clouds really start to part and you get hit with your first real rays of sunshine.
And then Sunday will come. Though nobody is guaranteed tomorrow – and I am certainly included in “nobody”, but I’m living as if I’ll see the sun rise… 20 years. It is just another day and on November 19th I’ll be back to living on what I’ve learned over the last twenty years but it’s still a big deal.
Every November 18th has been a big deal for me but those were the really special ones, the anniversaries that stick out.