My friends, this is going to be very short. I fell asleep on the couch watching the World Series last night after fixing my wife’s rear brake (new housings, cable, the whole nine yards – expertly done, I might add). All was good in my world as I drifted off to sleep.
I awoke with the Nationals in the lead and got up to head to bed. I shut off the TV and noticed my wife sitting in the kitchen, so I went over to kiss her goodnight before heading to bed. She was crying. We got a gut punch of bad news last night. I can’t get into it right now, just know my wife and kids are just fine, but this one’s bad. And it ties directly into my recovery, so I have one simple message for today.
I am a second chance recovered alcoholic. Meaning, I was given a second chance by a judge. He sentenced me to treatment rather than prison and while I didn’t plan on staying sober on day one, shoveling pig shit on a working recovery farm, hungover to beat the band, I became a small miracle in the first two weeks. Delirium tremens is a bitch that way.
I asked God for a deal; if He helped me, I’d give recovery everything I had.
I’ve never slept so good. I woke up the next day on a mission and I’ve never looked back (well, there was one glance over my shoulder but I didn’t relapse and I did survive). After the aforementioned glance over my shoulder, I gave up everything tied to my use of drugs and alcohol. Old friends, old places… gone. I changed everything to stay on the right path.
I’ve written countless times about how good my life has become and I owe all of it to that bargain – and doing something with what came of it.
Recovery is a daily gift. My life, every awesome moment (and every tough one, too) is another point in a great existence – a life of meaning, purpose, direction, and above all, fun. I have more fun just being on the right side of the grass, pumping air that I ever dreamed possible as I dug that pitchfork into another pile of gnarly straw in that pig stall. Just working on my wife’s brakes last night (betwixt cuss words) put a smile on my face… I treat my gift with the respect it needs and deserves because there’s another side to me; A dark side.
As much good as I’m capable of today, with a wrong turn, I’m capable of just as much bad – worse. All it takes is a tiny decision to unravel everything. One tiny thought, entertained would lead to my downfall and land me in the ground or in prison: “I’ve been sober long enough I could control a drink or twelve.”
Entertaining that one thought is all it would take to let that thought take hold and undo everything. There’s two months, maybe, between that and a prison sentence. Or, if I was lucky enough to stay out of prison, seven years and I’m dead from liver failure. That’s it. My best outcome if I drink is dead in seven years.
My happiness balances on that thin a margin. One little thought, gnawing away at the foundation of my awesome life.
There, but for the Grace of God, go I…
Stay hungry, my friends. Lest you get thirsty.