here, if you're unfamiliar with my Other Life. It's been 19 years today since I've had a drink of alcohol or another mind-altering substance. I'm grateful on a daily basis, but I'm especially grateful on anniversaries.
No matter what else happens in my life, getting and staying sober is both my biggest job and greatest reward. Without a clear head, I'm useless to myself or others. I'm certainly not perfect and I don't have all the answers, but at least I have a fighting chance, as long as I don't drink.
In AA we say the farther away we are from our last drink, the closer we are to our next one. I don't want to forget that last drink, ever. In the whole scheme of things, it wasn't particularly exciting. I didn't get arrested or have a wreck or wind up in bed with a stranger. It was just one more foggy night punctuating years of murk and gloom. I'm rather glad I didn't end my drinking with an exclamation point, or I might still be trying to chase the buzz. (There were plenty of exclamation points during my drinking years. Enough, actually.)
I'm especially grateful that my children allow me to be part of their lives. I think that's why my volunteer service taking an AA meeting to a women's prison is so meaningful to me. Those women, most of them mothers, are aching – just as I was – for a way to repair the relationships with their sons and daughters. I'll never be finished making those amends.