Each September 9, it’s nice to spend some time thinking about my sobriety. Today marks my 11th year. It feels good.
Every year, first thing in the morning, I get a congratulatory note from my glorious friend Deborah. She’s the epitome of my many beloved friends who give me strength no matter what I’m trying to do.
I thank you all and feel so grateful for the support.
It really is true – the old saw in AA about changing your playmates and your playgrounds if you’re planning on staying sober. It may seem incomprehensible at first. But as the years go by, you realize that’s exactly what you’ve done. This year that’s what’s on my mind.
I’m in the nice position, after 11 years of sobriety, of mostly being in places and around people where it hardly ever comes up. It wasn’t a deliberate thing, it just happened.
Once sober, you start waking up to what you really want, and then slowly you figure out how to go after it. If you aim right, you’ll find it. And you’re bound to aim for a non-drinking environment most of the time. They’re out there.
Growing up, I’d never have guessed this. I had ONE friend whose parents didn’t drink. ONE. Since I grew up in the county that produced Templeton Rye, Al Capone’s bootleg of choice, the odds were stacked against me on this one. Going to a college that’s always on the top ten party school list didn’t help. We could say my growth was stunted. I’m a remedial sober person.
Before I cultivated and settled into an environment where drinking wasn’t the main attraction, I got some classic responses when I had to say, “No thanks, I don’t drink.” I’ve written about this before; it really does fascinate me. It’s a showcase of denial, irony and the just plain funny. Hey, I myself never understood why I was so uncomfortable around a non-drinker until I became one. So, here we go.
Oh. My aunt was an alcoholic too. (the sensitive type)
When did you get a DUI? (Never, thanks. You?)
Don’t be silly. (this one’s popular with all ages, but mostly those over 75)
You can have one tonight! Worry about it tomorrow. (popular with those under 75)
Do you go to AA? (No.) Then you aren’t an alcoholic. (engraved in stone above the door at the Denial Hall of Fame)
I bet you can handle it now; it’s been long enough. (I can’t…even…)
WHAAAAAAAAAT? (a strong signal that I came to the wrong party)
I’ve thought about doing that too. (followed by person walking away without trying to be obvious)
I never trust people who don’t drink. (ok, this one was said to me when I still drank, but still)
Good for you. Bartender, keep em comin. (sole property of my mother)
So, that’s enough. I don’t have much more to say right now.
I just feel lucky, at peace, blessed, and happy.
And if you had told me this would be the case twelve years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you.