I showed up in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous the first time back in the early ’90s. I remember hearing people with double-digit sobriety talk about the path narrowing the longer they stayed sober. The usual cliches ensued, most notably: “The farther I am from my last drink, the closer I am to my next one.” They spoke about living sober through good times and bad, about remaining balanced, accepting life on life’s terms, walking with dignity through daily trials and tribulations. They talked about the joy of having kids and grand-kids they never imagined having, as well as the challenges of losing jobs, homes, loved ones—all the while staying sober. I never imagined getting there. I never imagined staying sober long enough to face any real trials or tribulations. I certainly never imagined “the promises” might someday apply to me.
On October 31, 2008, I celebrated ten years of continuous sobriety. I took stock. I was about to turn 49, a stone’s throw from 50, and I was still (amazingly) alive and sober. Not only that, I now had a beautiful wife and two beautiful kids of my own: Grace, 6, and Adam, 3. But I’d also overseen 4 layoffs in the prior 18 months and would oversee yet another shortly after the first of the year. I felt the target growing larger and larger on my own back as the economy continued to tank … deeper and deeper than anyone imagined possible. Then, on Valentine’s Day, after dinner out, my lovely wife of 6+ years informed me she didn’t know if she wanted to be married anymore, didn’t know if she was in love with me or whether she ever had been. Ka-Boom. What the hell is it about the 10-year mark that seems to invite the kind of events that make the earth move under your sober life? God’s will, I suppose.
Today, I’m still sane and still sober. I’m still employed, and I’m still married. But as any of us with a modicum of sobriety understands, all of those conditions are only as stable as the moment we live in.
I’m beginning this blog today because I am now one of those people with double-digit sobriety. I’m now one of those people with a lot to lose and a lot to be grateful for. I’m beginning the blog as an invitation for others—no matter your length of sobriety—to participate in a simple, frank, and honest discussion of what it’s like to live a sober life … now … today … in real-time. What it’s like to dive into the stream of life with only the simple kit of spiritual tools we’ve been handed and a certain faith that no matter how things turn out, they’ll turn out as they should. I hope you’ll join me in that discussion. Welcome.