My sober anniversary is this week. Time for coffee and cake, hugs and handshakes. More importantly, it’s time to remember where I was before I got sober.
To help remember, here is the guest post I wrote for Mrs. D. Her site Living Sober is a great resource and vibrant community of sober folk. Her writer’s page is Mrs. D is Going Without. She is currently writing her second book; her first book, a memoir, is available here.
I will never forget the withdrawal. That trembling of nerves under skin, sweat from shaking pores. Wave after wave of tremens. The delirium.
I will never forget those psych-ward slippers. Blue felt, paper bottom. The nurses taking my blood pressure. The concern on their faces. My teeth grinding.
I cannot remember many a drunken night. But I will never forget waking up with my jaw broken. A two-inch fracture of the mandible bone. My jaw clinched shut with wires for weeks. Sipping the pain medicine. Then drinking it, soon after downing it.
I will never forget the rehab. I first admitted I was alcoholic because I couldn’t read the prayer they gave me and I had nothing left to say.
I will never forget that relief. One small step forward in a life reeling in delusion, grandiosity, anxiety, and doubt.
I will never forget the people who helped me stand when I couldn’t stand myself, those who loved me when I loathed myself.
I will never forget feeling accepted—finally accepted. The longer I stayed sober, the more clear things became. I was alcoholic, and there was a way out. I took suggestions. I shared honestly what was going through my head and I learned to let what was going through my head go…and go…and go.
I will never forget meeting my wife with two years sober, or marrying her with three years sober, or buying our house in my fourth year sober, or seeing our son born in my fifth year. In my sixth year I completed my masters in teaching English. In my seventh, our baby girl was born, and in my eighth I started a blog because I couldn’t keep in the joy any more.
If I ever forget the bliss of my sobriety, I fear I may drink again. I stay grateful to stay sober. I stay sober to stay grateful.
May I always remember.