Sober vs. Not Drinking

It has been quite some time since I wrote a blog post about my recovery. It actually took me going back and reading my previous posts to remind me that I actually used to enjoy it and it used to be helpful to me. I understand the reason why now.

Early on in my recovery I went to 1-2 AA meetings a week on average. My sponsor encouraged a 30 in 30 or 90 in 90, but that just seemed excessive. I wasn’t THAT bad. (Spoiler alert: I was THAT bad.) I thought that I was already ready for step 4 by my first 60 days of sobriety or more realistically what can be referred to as my first 60 days “not drinking”. Sobriety and Not Drinking are not mutually exclusive terms. It took me over a year of “not drinking” to realize that I wasn’t actually “sober”.

Ten days before Christmas 2017 I was let go from my job. The details of it aren’t as important as the fact that this was wholly preventable on my part. I really wish I could blame an un-caring company and a rotten manager, but that would not be fair to anyone including myself. Sure, there were things that could have been done on part of my manager to help me if she really wanted to do so. The company could have look at my record as a whole rather than the past year, but that wasn’t in my cards. The fact is I did not do what I needed to do to protect myself because I was not taking care of myself. I was “not drinking”. Sobriety is not a destination, it is a journey. The key to starting this journey is recognizing that no one can do it alone. If we had the ability to become sober on our own we probably wouldn’t need to “get sober” in the first place.

Three days after being fired my car was repossessed. So now I was unemployed and car-less at the beginning of Winter. The only plus I had going for me was that I had recently moved out of my mother’s house and am now living in Providence with more access to affordable public transit. I have to admit, even though it sucks having to take public transit, I have much less stress. I am not someone who is currently responsible enough to have a car. I’m not sure that I ever have been.

On Christmas Eve, my roommate informed me that our water heater had died and would need to be replaced. Circumstances were such that it wasn’t going to be fixed for quite some time. Also the heating system in the house was not working so we had to heat the house with space heaters. It wasn’t a great situation. My roommates had already made plans to be away from Christmas until well into January. So at this point, I was not working with no car, limited heat and no hot water to bathe. It was extremely frustrating. I had to get away. So I did.

I found a very cheap flight to Fort Lauderdale and made plans to stay with friends and planned my “Florida Walkabout”. Was it the most responsible decision based on my finances, absolutely not. What I learned on this trip was priceless. Peace.

Fort Lauderdale has a thriving LGBT community and an even more thriving LGBT Recovery community. While I was there I attended no less than two AA meetings a day and spent the rest of the day walking around. I walked over 70 miles while I was in Florida. I felt amazing. It was the “reset” I needed. I had originally intended to be there from Wednesday to Monday but I ended up extending my trip to leave the following Friday. I reconnected with an old friend who was staying at his parent’s condo a couple hours north of Fort Lauderdale and visited with him and then ended my trip visiting more friends in Orlando. I had no expectations on this trip and found answers to questions I didn’t know I had. It was truly a magical experience that changed me.

When I came home to the frozen tundra of southern New England I could feel those old feelings starting to creep back. I knew I had to do something. What could I do to make me feel as good as I did in Fort Lauderdale here in Providence? I couldn’t make it warm. I couldn’t walk around and feel the sun on my skin. I could however, go to a meeting every day.

I found a meeting in Providence called “Breakfast with Bill” which meets 7 days a week at 7am. I’ve gone almost every day since then and my life has improved dramatically. I started working with my sponsor weekly and I’ve found a full time job. About a month ago I started doing service with Breakfast with Bill and co-chair the Thursday meeting. Strangely enough, showing up, raising my hand and sharing and doing service work…works. I can say now that I am sober.

I still make mistakes. I am still broke. I still don’t have a car, but I am sober and therefore on the path to that happy life that AA promises. It feels like a miracle and for that I am grateful.

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