Time brings change

Last night, I attended a reception at my undergraduate university. I attended there 27 years ago, loved my experience there, and worked there for a couple of years also. I continue to teach there every fall, and it is still near and dear to my heart, the place and the people there. Last night, the reception was for the students that will be graduating tomorrow on Mother’s day.

The last time that I went to a reception at my school, I was still drinking alcohol, and as I planned to attend, I was excited to see people that I knew and have some great food and conversation. However, I also wondered, although didn’t worry, how I would handle being around so much alcohol. It was my first major social event since I got sober, and the drinks were flowing. My favorites, red and white wine, were in abundance. I watched some glasses walk past me in the hands of others, and I felt a bit of envy, envy to want to partake and have it be just a drink at a social event. However, booze doesn’t work that way for me. It has never been something that I could imbibe in moderation. That is part of the reason that I knew getting sober was the answer.

On the way to the event, I thought about my almost nine months of sobriety, and wondered about having a fall off the wagon. I thought about it from a couple of angles: first, no one would really know that I had slipped, and then I could just go back to a sober life. Secondly, even if I was public and open about it in AA and with those who I love and trust, I would receive understanding and compassion. However, after a brief thought about this, and it was extremely brief, I knew that was not the choice that I wanted to make.

I have worked so hard to be able to get and stay sober over the last several months. I have been in social, family and public situations where alcohol was present, and I not only abstained, I engaged in conversations about my sobriety. I understood last night that for me, it is less about not picking up that one, or two, or ten drinks, but rather about making an active choice to live more healthy, honestly and effectively. Time, trust and understanding has brought that to me. I know that I only need to focus on staying sober today, but for what it’s worth, I feel so good about the other one days up to today. And, I know I will continue to feel good about each 24 hours that I give to myself.

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