Five Years into my Sober Journey

There is a gift from me to you at the end of this post. And there is also an honesty test. Scoring is pass/fail.

I have been sober for 2,118 days, 0 hours and 1 minute. Among the AAer’s that’s a “way to go, keep coming back”. Among the population at large that’s a “good job, 2118 days of healthy living, and, under their breadth…that’s 2118 days of not putting your life or someone else’s life in danger”. I celebrate both perspectives.

I have heard that success as a teacher has pretty much taught us all it can by the age of 30 – 32. Our teachers from that point on become emotional pain and suffering. Oh boy, the stark realities of adulthood.

In the 5 plus years that I’ve been sober, I have experienced 3 crippling depressions, all filled with a bountiful dose of anxiety. Was I comfortable in my own skin during those periods? Anything but! I walked around as on big human nerve ending. Through all of that I started to understand that sometimes the solution to the pain – is the pain. A valuable lesson learned during this last bout with the big black dog.

Pain and suffering can also be a motivator. Today, I find myself motivated to not take anymore self-inflicted ass kicking’s. I don’t want to burden my family by not being there in body, mind and spirit. I don’t want to burden my wife, who is busy with 3 teenagers, ailing parents and a challenging career. I want to take part in life and not withdraw into isolation.

So what action have I taken. Well, when I was struggling to make it through the day I focused on “one day at a time.” I often repeated “let go and let God”, don’t take resentments “live and let live”, “don’t think, do, no matter how difficult it may seem”. I forced myself to not isolate. I practiced being honest with myself and others. I stopped looking at myself in the mirror every 5 minutes, quick glances to see how depressed I looked and what might be visible to others. That, of course, would be total self-centeredness in full bloom. I listened to others that I trusted and I did what they said. I knew that my perception was off and that I was telling myself every possible thing that was bad and untrue. I went back to AA. I bought a new Big Book because I threw my last one out when I graduated myself from AA, the second of three times. And then I and started to read.

“Selfishness – self-centeredness. That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.

So our troubles, we think, are of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it will kill us!”

Excerpt taken from page 62 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Copyright 1939, 1955, 1976, 2001 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All rights reserved.

Pain and suffering motivated me to take action. I am grateful for that.

When I first got sober I went to 90 meetings in 90 days. I went to four, sometimes five AA meetings a week during my first two years of sobriety. Putting in the time in early sobriety gave me the foundation and the solution to address my recent troubles. I am now into the solution and humbled once again. I am happy and str living in the present.

OK, the honesty test. Did you go for the instant gratification, skip the post and go right to the gift?

The gift. Google ‘sobriety calculator’ and bookmark this useful tool.

Happy Holidays!

Author: iceman18

For many years, I worked hard to build a charmed life. I had been living that life to the fullest until the time came when I took a precipitous fall into the abyss of alcoholism. Unwittingly, I claimed my family as hostages and took them right along with me. I survived addiction and have been in recovery since February 9, 2007. Since that time I have been working courageously to face down "the ghost" and eliminate the demons of my past. I find that writing My Story has had great therapeutic value. If along the way, my experience can help one person, or maybe even more, well....that would be pretty awesome. I also pray that my blog will help illuminate the generational cycle of child abuse that continues to plague our society today. By bringing awareness to what is often called "Our Nations Shame" I have faith that one day soon we will witness real progress toward the illumination and understanding of child abuse, followed by its eradication from the under belly of mankind. I have faith! But, faith without works is dead. I pray everyday for the strength, the courage, and the resolve, to take action!

15 thoughts on “Five Years into my Sober Journey”

  1. I am struggling with depression and anxiety in the worst way and this is both uplifting and hopeful. Thank you! And NO! I did not skip to the gift, LOL!

    God bless you and keep you on the path which you are on, and be there for you in your time of need. Happiness to you.

    1. I feel for you Annebella. Through the intense pain, I have sought to learn. It wasn’t always that way. I decided though that I would cast aside the victim and become the survivor.

      Now, when I’m in a depression, I view it as God’s got out his chisel and he is whittling away on me. That mental image helps my pain and also makes me curious. Why is my mind, body and soul being chiseled and challenged.

      After a ton of therapy and seeking to understand the source, or cause of my pain, I gathered the courage to best honest with myself and face the reality of my childhood. I did not grow up like Huck Finn, carefree and romping in nature. I did not grow up in an environment that was all loving and nurturing. I grew up in an environment where I was subjected to sexual, physical and emotional abuse. It still stuns me to write those words down and know that I am talking about me. I love my parents to this day. That makes it all the more challenging and twisted. It’s hard to reconcile and get my mind around.

      I am as honest as I can be with myself. I become more honest and stronger each year. As a child I repressed it all, put it away in a secret part of my soul. As I grew older, I started to suppress the thoughts and images that started to surface. When we had children, and my boys reached the age where I was abused, I could not fight and keep it down any longer. That’s when the depression started to get really bad. I was conscious of what was real and it wasn’t going away. Could I touch my boys inappropriately at the age of 4 and 5. Not in a million years. Why was I touched and fondled. It paralyzed me, made me frozen in fear and it made me small without a voice.

      Why would someone bury their fist in me, lifting me off the ground in flight, because I didn’t get a hit in Little League. And then leave the room, my mother crying out of my sight, but not coming to my aid.

      Hell, I remember clear as day. I was certain that something was wrong with me. I was bad, broken and useless. I was afraid that they were going to give me away. Where would I go? I didn’t know! So, I made sure that I did everything perfectly. I know as an adult that we live in an imperfect world. But to this day, when I make a mistake, I don’t have the normal human reaction of “darn, made a mistake’. I am a mistake. And then the tape starts to play. I am bad, I will never be anything, I hate myself, how could I be so stupid, I don’t deserve to be alive.

      Its maddening! Or can be. I have worked hard to recognize what I say to myself and how I need to talk back at things that aren’t true. It’s extremely difficult to do, as you may know.

      There is a ton of support in AA for people that were abused just like I was. I check out The Icarus Project (just google) from time to time. There are support forms there and they’re pretty good.

      I pray for your strength and ability to address any demons that might be lurking. Best……

      1. “I was certain that something was wrong with me. I was bad, broken and useless.”

        Reading your reply made me cry. But that’s probably a good thing. I will check out your link and I thank you- for sharing, it’s brave especially when it’s within your family as with me and you have helped me to feel not so alone.

  2. Wow. Pretty impressive accomplishment Kevin. We all knew you would get thru this rough patch, as you always have in the past.

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  3. Sobriety Calculator Link:
    http://www.aagrapevine.org/sobriety-calculator

    What a thoughtful post & gift. Thanks.

    I admit–I hesitated visiting the calculator site, and calculating my sobriety.
    I feared becoming addicted to it (addicts tend to amass proxy obsessions & habits like some people like to collect pets).

    What I discovered was how impressed I was that I’d been sober for as long as I have been 4Years, 1,749 Days, 41,984 Hours, 2,519,088 Minutes & 151,145,291 Seconds and counting, as of this post.

  4. I am completely in awe at the content you have expressed and also the transparency that you have done it .. is absolutely amazing. I am so happy that you dropped by my home here at wordpress. Your visit gave me the opportunity to read your words of life. Many years ago I was married to an alcoholic who was very violent. Though I cared him and he said he loved me ..he almost killed me in a fit of rage. I did indeed leave him with so many mixed feelings but it is wonderful to know that there are those who have broken the back of addiction and now LIVE..Thank you

    1. I’m glad that you found inspiration in my post. It’s nice when we can help each other. I found truth, honesty and courage in your posts. They have helped me bring the stark reality of my own childhood, closer to the light.

      1. Thank you so much. It is nice to know I am not alone and that there is someone out there who made it through a similar childhood. I anticipate your future posts and insight.

  5. It’s very nice to meet you here in Blogland, Iceman. I look forward to following you and your sharings. I have a feeling I can learn a lot from you.

    I hope today finds you healthy and happy,
    christy

  6. Wow, lots of very raw but very true stuff here. I realize this is a long ago post but it touched me now. Thank you for baring your soul then 🙂 we are all works in progress.

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