Wednesday, November 12, 2014

24 and so much more

So. Happy anniversary to me.
This perfectly captures how I feel today.

Today marks 24 years of continuous sobriety, 24 years of living life on life's terms, 24 years that I haven't (thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous) used alcohol or drugs to alter my reality or mask my feelings.

Those of you who know me up close and personal can attest to the fact that my feelings are, um, pretty much right up front. HAH! I know at least one person who'd love it if I would stuff them every once in a while. (No, he wouldn't. Not really.)

If you don't know my story, you can read the 16-year version of it here. What's happened in the eight years since?

I still live in the same house, I have the same dog, and I'm living with the same person. In fact I'd married that person just a few months before my 16th AA anniversary. I've now lived in the same house with the same person and had the same dog for a longer stretch than at any other time in my entire life. People, places, things and dogs used to fall by the wayside when life got sticky. My MO was to run away – from husbands, jobs, homes, family, friends.

But I was always right there with me, and it wasn't until I quit drinking that I could quit running.

Or start, actually.

Running – the sport – is something I've picked up and a-l-m-o-s-t put away in the past eight years. I've run three half-marathons, the Army 10-Miler, a four-mile race and a 5K. I'd like to run again, but at my age maybe walking is better. But maybe not. I haven't crossed a marathon off my bucket list, and I still want to run up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, รก la Rocky.

I'm still taking an AA meeting to a nearby women's prison, and still marveling that having that meeting serve fewer women than it used to has made it more effective. The meeting is a highlight of my week, every week, and no matter how I feel driving to the prison, I always always ALWAYS feel better on the way home.

There was a little package in the mail Monday, an anniversary card and gift from a woman whose running blog I began reading in 2006 (I think). Our relationship began with running advice and inspiration, but guess what? She's been sober seven years now. (And has lived in the same place with the same dog all that time, and just celebrated her first wedding anniversary!) Her very thoughtful gift means so much to me, but her life and her friendship mean ever so much more.

What's new in the past eight years? I have five new grandchildren, who are now seven, six (triplets) and four. My daughter is about to graduate from law school. My son has been promoted to a new and important position at his place of employment. (My parenting skills, believe me, had nothing to do with my children's success. But my pride in them knows no bounds.)

I lost my dad – a strong Truman Democrat and the son of a strong Roosevelt Democrat – four years ago. That was a blow. I wanted to die right along with him. But I didn't die, and I didn't drink, and I'm carrying on his values and ideals because …

The other thing that's happened is that I've ventured out of my safe little world and become a loud, proud Democrat, working for candidates, being one, taking positions. I've become involved with the WV Federation of Democratic Women on the local and state levels. I think I'm making a difference, and I'm standing up for something besides me-me-me.

Because you see, alcoholics are selfish and self-centered to their core. Or at least this one is. If I'm not comfortable, you won't be either, I'll make sure of it. I'm shedding that behavior, one day at a time, but I have a long way to go.

Thanks for being here with me. You know who you are.


gingerzingi said...

Congratulations, Debbi!

And thanks for sharing this. If you ever think you're blogging into a void, you're not. Your two (or three) readers gain a lot from your words, and that's a ripple that spreads out into the world.

Debbi said...

Thank you so much.

Your comment reminds me of my Aunt Helen, who died many years ago. A young man spoke at her funeral, who had been in her Sunday School class as a child, and grew up to be a minister in a small country church. I'm more spiritual than I am religious, but it struck me that my aunt's influence on that little boy eventually spread far and wide, touching many lives.

We bloggers get to do that, too. What a privilege!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog (and not commenting) since the Shrinking Knitter days. I have it bookmarked and always find what you write interesting.


Debbi said...

Thank you, Cat! I love that you came out of the woodwork and left a comment ... and that you've been reading all these years. I appreciate that very much.