I have been sober for more than 25 years. Specifically, 303.82 months. 9,248 Days. Twenty-four Hours at a time, 221,956 Hours.
Wednesday, as things go in life sometimes, the wheels fell off. Several things went horribly wrong in the space of just a few hours – enough to panic me a little bit.
So, after all of that time and practice in sobriety, what does a person do when the wheels fell off?
Well, I called my sponsor first. I shared with him what was going on and we kicked around a plan for how I would handle things going forward. We talked about the steps available to me to work at the problem, followed by how lucky I was to have the problems that I do, compared with the challenges I had when I was using and shortly after finding recovery. Then, and for the dominating amount of time in the ten minute conversation, we talked about gratitude for always being able to find a way forward with the program (and in my case, with the help and guidance of a Higher Power). I hung up the phone in a much better space.
Now for the important part. I called one of my sponsees who is falling by the wayside and talked about how he was doing and what we could do to right the ship, because any recovering drunk who is experiencing difficulties in life should be working with someone less fortunate. The benefits are too numerous to bother listing, I’ll just say “it’s what we do”.
I slept like a baby last night… don’t even remember falling asleep, I just drifted off around 9pm and woke to the alarm. Ready to go.
To shorten this post and the ultimate answer up to a couple of sentences; What do you do when you’re an old-timer in the program and the wheels fall off?
The same thing you do when you’re a week sober and holding on by your fingernails: You call your sponsor, work some steps, and roll on. Eventually you gain something that’s worth passing on and you do that too, you pass it on.
Why does that work? Who f***in’ cares, it does. So do it.