Two months ago today, I walked into the old sanctuary on the grounds of a local Presbyterian church. The worn but functional building is no longer the main place of worship and now serves as a meeting place for a variety of groups and activities. I was there for the Wake Up East meeting of AA.
I’ll never be able to fully express the sheer terror that I felt as I sat there, defeated and worn out like the floorboards of that hall that are covered in places with blue masking tape. I knew that I’d reached the end of the line. As I sat there before the meeting started I felt completely alone.
I was no longer willing to hang on to the idea that I might be able to moderate my drinking. The past several years had already proven the impossibility of that plan. I was starting to accept that reality. And still, abstinence seemed impossible.
But, just for that day, I didn’t have a drink. And the next day I went to the meeting again. And I didn’t drink that day either. And the next, and the next, and the next…
The first week or two were very difficult. I certainly had my share of anxiety and cravings. There were times when I just needed to hide. There were times when I just needed to sleep in the middle of the day. A few times I felt like I wanted to peel my skin off my body. But as many people told me, things started to even out with time.
So much has changed in the past two months. I sleep like a teenager again. That pain in my right side is gone. I don’t get heartburn at night. I laugh a lot more. I am silly with my son, Mr. Grey, at times when I might have been irritable in the past. I sometimes find myself smiling for no reason at all. I’m less self-conscious. I don’t compare myself to others as much as I once did. I feel like I am good enough. And I know that I’m not alone.
I was reminded that I’m not alone this morning when I was handed a handwritten note of congratulations and support along with a two month chip. The note was from a very sweet woman in her 70’s who is out-of-town with her husband for Thanksgiving. The chip was her’s.
A chip is nothing more than a cheep piece of aluminum. Intention provides meaning.
I’m touched that Mrs. L cares enough about celebrating my two months to have made arrangements for my sponsor to give me her chip along with her note. I’m looking forward to seeing her when she returns so that I can give her a big hug.