November 21, 2014 4:44 am
This is a shot of my nephew… another miracle in my life.
I was watching a documentary about World War II veterans that were a part of this organization called Honor Flight. Horror Flight is an organization that takes veterans to Washington DC to visit the recently completed World War II memorial and other sites.
There was one veteran who had been imprisioned in a prisoner of war camp for part of the last year of the war until he was liberated in April of 1945. Most of the comrades that he had been captured with had died while they were in captivity and we was one of the only ones that survived.
He would say that, “Everyday is a bonus.”
When I heard that I automatically connected it to my recovery from alcohol and drugs. In no way was I trying to compare my experience with his but in a lot of ways there were similar. We had both survived something that many people that we knew did not. At the end of it… everyday after that day of liberation was an absolute gift.
I think about this today as a good friend of mine celebrated one year of sobriety this last weekend. It has already been a year since the day that he came to me and told me that he was “sick and tired of being sick and tired”. We went to his first meeting that day and since that day he has never looked back.
Many things change for me over the years of my recovery, but one thing that does not is getting that call from someone who just doesn’t want to live like they are anymore. My reaction is always the same… I get really excited because all that I can see are the possibilities that are in front of them. Usually they will not be able to see what I am seeing… they can only imagine how boring they are going to be without alcohol.
I am not boring. I use myself as an example of what can happen to someone when they decide that they want to live.
My friend is not boring either. He is another miracle… in his life (and mine)… Everyday is a bonus.
November 7, 2014 1:12 pm
I really like people who when they say that they are going to do something.. they do it. If they commit themselves to something they are going to follow through with it until its done.
I think of myself as one of those people. I am very dedicated to what I am doing. I am incredibly loyal. Sometimes I think that I might just be a little too loyal, so much that it may even hurt me sometimes. I figure that it is more valuable for me to hold true to something then get hurt sometimes.
The reason that I am bringing this up is that I know that my time in early sobriety was what helped shape my belief in this. I have a feeling that when I was starting this thing.. I really was not that into commitment. I also was not into dying either, but thats another story.
I could not commit to anything… except that I was going to get fall down drunk every single day. That really was not that hard to commit to because it was something that my body craved. I could not help it. You don’t have to commit when your body thinks that it can’t live without what you are committing to.
When I was in the Beacon HouseSM we had 12-step meetings that were part of our schedule. I had no idea how much of an impact that the simple suggestions that I was going to be given would have such a profound impact on my life. Something as major as the concept of commitment.
It was suggested that I get a “commitment” when I was at one of my first meetings. For those of you who do not know what a “commitment” is in a 12-step programs it is a job that you volunteer (or sometimes don’t volunteer for) that helps get you to a specific meeting over and over. That would mean that I would have to put myself out there.. and that was something that I was not willing to do at the beginning. But getting out of your comfort zone is something that was essential for me in early recovery.
My reasoning for this was that all of the things that I had done in the past, all of my reasoning, had gotten me here. Obviously, it was not the best reasoning… and had not produced the most ideal results.
Even though I had good intentions.. I still was not going to raise my hand to get a commitment so I was railroaded into it. This is when someone who has more time then you in recovery and thinks that you need a commitment nominates you and corrals everyone to vote for your appointment. This is what happened to me. I was given a literature commitment at a meeting.
I had to show up at this meeting every week or someone would worry about me and ask where I was. These were some crusty old-timers that had gotten me this position so I was going to do everything in my power to not do them wrong. I was going to have a great selection of literature and I was going to be there every week.
Now that I look back on this part of my early recovery I can see the direct connection between this early commitment and how I feel about commitments now. Just another piece of the puzzle that I can trace back to those days in Pacific Grove