As of last Wednesday night, I wasn’t one day closer to a drink… not surprisingly, I was just one day closer to 30 years.
We have a new guy with just a few months, when I passed my 30-year coin around (it’s a tradition to pass one’s coin around so others can rub good vibes, karma, or juju on it, whichever you prefer), who said he couldn’t even imagine how someone could amass that much time in recovery.
I can remember sitting in my first open talk, just a few days into my journey, thinking it would be awesome to be around to give one on my one year anniversary. I did, of course, and I gave my first open talk on my anniversary. One of the old-timers made it happen, simply because he knew I had that dream. When I had that hope, sitting through my first open talk, I hadn’t even made the decision to give recovery a chance, let alone everything I had. That would come another week and a half later.
It’s said in meetings, anyone can stay sober for the hour you’re sitting in a meeting, the real test is what you do with the other 23-hours that counts.
Well, hitting 30 years is a little harder, but it’s much the same concept; don’t drink, don’t die, work the steps, recover. Before you know it, one day turns into 10,958 and you get to celebrate 30 years. My next big milestone will be around 31 years 259 days. Give or take. And I’ll hit that the same way I hit 30. One day at a time. I won’t drink today. As long as I don’t die and I keep working the steps, I’ll make it till I fall asleep. I’ll do the same tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after. 617 more in a row.
Why a billion seconds? My dad, when I was a teenager, explained the concept of a Billion Dollars by explaining you couldn’t count to a billion in a lifetime. The idea is, it takes three or four seconds to hit the bigger numbers and you have to sleep and eat, too. With a billion seconds at 31 years, it isn’t difficult to see counting to a billion would be futile (and an entire waste of life). Without taking this too silly, that conversation with my dad meant a lot, having stuck with me so long, so now that he’s gone I’m looking forward to that milestone because that’s a little part of him that’s stuck with me.
Oh, and if you’re one of those contrarians who want to point out I shouldn’t have such “milestones” in recovery, that it’s only “one day at a time” and we shouldn’t celebrate such silly dalliances… dude, you’re a stick in the mud. Live a little, would ya? Recovery is a celebration from being delivered from misery every day. You can have a little more fun on the big days without falling into a pit of morass. Or more ass as the case might be.