I have a checkered past. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering the theme of this blog.
Recovering folk don’t quit using because they’re on a fantastic winning streak. At 25-years clean and sober, and actually working at it, I’ve come a long way from the days where I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the year, let alone how I’d make it to the 30-year-old mark after the docs told me my liver was about shot and I probably wouldn’t make it to 31 at the rate I was going. I was just 21 then.
To say I was looking at a bleak future was a bit of an understatement. I definitely didn’t need shades.
After sobering up and working an active recovery program, things improved. The harder I worked at it, the better things got. My sponsor’s sponsor gave me my 9-month coin and said as he handed it to me, “Jim, if you keep coming back and keep working the steps, your life will get so good you’ll think it couldn’t possibly get any better. Then six months later you’ll realize it got better all on its own.”
I’ve been there dozens and dozens of times, to a point it doesn’t even surprise me anymore when I realize it’s happened yet again.
With the exception of not having a lot of money to play with, I’ve got an awesome life. I get to have so much fun, sometimes it’s tough to believe that… well, life could actually be this good. But it is! Choosing a sober life at just 22 is like cheating at life. It’s almost unfair for the normal folks.
So what’s the hardest part of being me?
Realizing that at some point, it is going to be my time to be worm food, and there won’t be anymore tomorrows. Life is so fragile, I just hope I make it to some of the really good stuff, like my daughters graduating, or getting married, or being “grandpops” for my kids’ kids… That’s not the tough part about being me, though.
The tough part is seeing new kids come into the program and wishing I could take all of the good stuff in my head and cram it in theirs so it’d stick. If a new kid could see just how good life can be, choosing to stay sober would be a no-brainer.
Sadly, that’s not how it works. You couldn’t tell me anything before I decided on my own to sober up, and I wouldn’t expect it to be different for anyone else.