Three Years, Five Months, Many Adventures, Misadventures and Some Divine Intervention Later…
“Advance, and never halt, for advancing is perfection. Advance and do not fear the thorns in the path, for they draw only corrupt blood.”
– Khalil Gibran The Prophet
Today, is a rather nostalgic day, because it is a dual anniversary of sorts. Three year and five months ago, I got sober. and Three years ago, the event that put the final nail in the coffin of my first marriage occurred. I have wanted to write about it, but I feel like the details hardly matter at this point and certainly aren’t required to get to the truth of it. I can say what matters about both in few sentences and it occurs to me as I sit here, that it is what came after each that truly matters and is better to write about.
3 years and five months ago; I was an active alcoholic, my life was unmanageable and I was on a downward spiral. It was nearly everything you might think of when you picture alcoholism, though because I worked from home and wrote for a living, it had not yet cost me my job, though that was certainly coming very soon. It had ruined my marriage and my then wife, Lucy, openly disdained me and I felt verbally abused me. As she left for a research trip, I quit drinking and headed to AA, with the intention of determining that it was a joke and leaving it behind to try and stay sober for a few months on my own before I returned to drinking.
Having been an alcoholic from the time I was barely a teen, I had never known hope, happiness or real, honesty and faith. Rather than finding AA to be bullshit, I found myself to be. All that I pretended to be, all that I had built to keep drinking and keep others from seeing the real me, was a lie. I found hope first, then a taste of happiness. I looked for more and I found that I loved my sobriety and would go to any lengths to keep it.
3 years, 5 months ago, I realized that in order to protect and keep my sobriety, I had to leave Lucy and that is what I did. There were mistakes and missteps involved with all of that, including another woman, some clumsiness and other errors that I am still paying for today, but really, I just knew I had to leave. I left and I moved home, with a dream of how wonderful and easy it was all going to be.
The first six months were perhaps that easiest, after that being sober became a little tougher. Living back here in Detroit got harder too, tough to find work and my dreams crumbled slowly. But I did my best to stay sober and to keep putting in the work. There is a certain order to the universe and way in which the powers that be work, whatever you might think those are; and hard work pays off even if it is not in the way you might anticipate.
So, not long after I moved here, I met Kim, she was beautiful, older than me, so strong, smart, kind and hilarious. She was entirely, out of my league as far as I was concerned. She could be the life of the party, but I could also see a sadness in her, a vulnerability and a loneliness and I was drawn to her. I am an idiot when it comes to women, so it took a really long time, but we started seeing each other.
I confess, I was seeing someone else at the time, but Kim knew that. Though, I thought I was madly in love with the other woman, my heart turned and drew itself to Kim and I feel so, deeply and madly in love with her that it seems we were always together, for lifetimes even. Here was this magical woman, who not really knowing me, having heard all of the terrible stories about me and all these descriptions of that false persona I had crafted, looked at me and saw right through it, to the person that I really am, to the man I have been protecting all of my life and it was like she gave him permission and assurance to walk right out and live in the sun.
So it grew serious with Kim and I met and fell in love with her two sons, who by another blessing from on high, also love me and slowly we became a family. And almost a one year ago, we married, making it official and I cried, because I had a family. Here, a gift that three years ago, my would never have allowed me to suggest I wanted and therefore I couldn’t possibly know that my heart was crying out for it.
Serious wonder and serious lessons, be yourself, put in the work and the reward comes, let go and let the universe do the steering and you will wind up someplace you need and want to be. Things get better when I relinquish control, when I remain humble and worry only about doing the next right thing. I learned all of that over the first two years that I was sober. It is the curse of an alcoholic though that we cannot learn a lesson just once, we cannot say “there, learned that and will never have to learn it again!” No, because we will forget, we will backslide and will have to learn things over and over again. It is just our way.
So, I stopped doing the work, quit the meetings, stopped praying and reading and reaching out. I started worrying, thinking of myself, trying to take control. Then things got tough, things in and out of our ability to control and I lost faith and I started shielding and guarding myself again, putting up that false persona more and more. I grew selfish again and have been struggling to find my way back ever since, not yet through really doing the work though, because I am an alcoholic and finding my way to do the right thing, the right way is hard, though it shouldn’t be. I did damage with Kim and I, not ruin, though it could have been if she were a different person. She is still there, still I believe, loves me fiercely and I love her with all that I am
Today, as I look back on the last three years, here is what think.
Thank Heaven for her, for the boys, for the huge heart of hers and the forgiveness that runs through it.
Thank Heaven and earth that even not putting the effort I should into it, I haven’t drank.
Thank Heaven that when I am ready to roll my sleeves up, there is a program and tools to keep me both sober and SANE.
I am so happy to be so blessed and to know that no matter what, if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other, if you just keep advancing and putting in the work then the rewards will follow, even if they are not what you might think. Often, as in my case, those you were not expecting are the best!
3 years, 5 months, sober. Thank you friends, Kim and special thanks to Bill and Bob.