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Why, At 29 Years In Recovery, I Still Get My Coin


December 2021

I don’t have all 29 anymore. I gave a bunch away to friends as the years have gone by. I always figured it’s better to get a coin that’s been around the block than a new one, anyway. Even though my anniversary was almost two weeks ago, I just got my 29-year coin Wednesday night.

Here’s the quick breakdown on why. My homegroup meeting is on Wednesday night from 8 to 9 pm. My anniversary was technically Thursday the 18th, starting at 12:01 am… so I was three hours short. Just before my actual anniversary. I had to wait until the following Wednesday to get my coin. This might seem a little strict, obviously I was going to make it, but it is what it is. We try not to take a minute for granted, let alone 180 to 240 of them. Anyway, we were up north at my wife’s mom’s house for Thanksgiving last week, so I couldn’t make my home group meeting.

So that brought us to Wednesday… and my wife had other meetings she couldn’t miss to give me my coin (she’s given me every one for the last couple of decades unless my sponsor took the task on the rare occasion). So my wife orchestrated it so her dad, who had come in from out of town, filled in to give me my coin (he’s got more than 38 years… it’s a bunch).

It was a special night. Though I’m only 51, I can fairly be called an old-timer.

Now, we old-timers aren’t good for much besides leading by example in showing newer folks that a) the program works by b) being there and generally of good cheer by c) talking about how the program is worked to achieve that good-natured temperament.

Rocket science this ain’t.

That said, there are a half-dozen reasons I still get my coins but there’s one that is above all others. I was given a great gift by my Higher Power the day my desire to use drugs and alcohol was removed enough that I could recover.

I was sober two weeks when I begged God to remove my desire for alcohol. I can remember waking up the next morning awestruck by what it felt like to be free. That was enough to get me working that program of recovery so I could grow into what I am today.

A lot of people struggle with guilt for having been saved and not having a decent answer for one of the harder questions we face in recovery: “why me”? I am not so afflicted. I know why me. I believe I was given that gift because I asked for it when I was ready to use it. Then I did. Now it’s my turn to pay for that gift by helping my fellow newer people in recovery achieve what I did.

And so I have a purpose.

I do my best to be the brightest beacon of light I can be on a stormy night that never ends, on a really small, rocky shore. That’s the job.

Otherwise, we can be pretty much useless. And that’s why people struggle with “why me?” “Being of maximum use to my fellows”, humbly, isn’t exactly the sexiest of jobs. We certainly never get rich doing it.

Freedom, happiness and contentment are the payoff, though. And that’s better than good enough for government work. Especially after what we have to go through to get there.

Recover hard, my friends. It’s a zoo out there.


  1. Lisa M. Boyd says:

    There you are in the Midwest, and they say look for the similarities not the differences. If I didn’t know better you sit in on my Home Group meeting. My husband goes to a Home Group that sounds similar to yours with the exception there are no skirts. So I can’t be there when we gets his coin. He has been in attendance of that same meeting coming on 30 years.

    What you shared I get to hear from some of my most treasured people in recovery. Yet there are some who have 20-30 years that don’t have a damn thing I want. Then there are those with 1-2 years who shine ever so brightly. I guess it shows who is really doing the deal. Thanks for your share! Keep on keeping on, we just wake and hopefully get be better people today!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks Lisa, you’re absolutely right. No doubt about it. Most important words in How It Works: thoroughly followed our path… awesome comment.

      • Lisa M. Boyd says:

        I am just one who has what I have today, and am not exempt from going back out. There was a wise man who stuck that to me 4 plus years ago right here on WP 😂. I hear it all the time now, and I appreciated being called out on it. Maybe not at that second, but once I could see it’s not all about me. I’m not that special 😜. All I know is taking a drink or drug scares the shit out me. Also nothing changes out there except “who has the shit on sale”! Blessings man! Have a great Holiday season!

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