I posted on FB and Twitter: Today is the first day of my 24th year clean and sober. Wow. Thank you, God
I am overwhelmed with the response. I want to thank/like/reply to all of you – but that’s a lot of replies. It is really pretty crazy.
Yea, so 23 years ago tonight, I went to my first AA meeting. Some how, “A power greater than myself” has kept me sober for 23+ years. Some of you are scrambling to do the math and will figure out that I have never legally drank in the any US state. That being said – I have legally consumed alcohol in the US! The District of Columbia changed their drinking age on October 1st of 1986. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for me I was already 18 and was free to make the long journey to “Wang Chung’s Oriental Liquor”. You have to love a place that has a sign on the door that says “If you look young, If you don’t have ID, DONT BOTHER!” right on the door. That – and the fact that even when I was 17 they would quickly load my trunk up with beer… crazy Asians!
A lot has changed over the past 23 years, but I’ve managed – one day at a time – to stay sober. I often wonder “Did I really have a problem? Could I drink today?” The simple and most obvious answer to that question is “I don’t know”. In 23 years of my life, my most expensive beverage has been a $6 soda at a sporting event. I have never had to worry about driving home drunk, soda is almost 100% free refills and water is typically free. That alone is enough to make me say “I may drink tomorrow, but today I will remain sober.” Alcoholism is a terrible disease that affects so many people. Not just the alcoholic, but their family, friends, employers… it is terrible, but almost routinely accepted by many. The unfortunate thing is – nobody cares all that much until you start messing up lives or getting sick. I don’t think I messed up too many lives, I didn’t get sick, I didn’t get and DUI tickets, I didn’t kill anybody – I think I got off easy. Why throw that away?
For me, today is a day of reflection. From the first meeting, the trials and tribulations, the desires to drink, the ups, the downs… God has taken GREAT care of me. I’m proud on some levels, but in being proud, I think I am taking credit for this. It is a disease with no ‘cure’. You cant take a pill, a drug or anything to fix it. Twelve simple steps can do it, but you have to be ready to admit that you are powerless over alcohol, that your life is unmanageable. Unmanageable is easy. Powerless? not so much. It’s been a great 23 years. The good, the bad and everything in between. If you are hurting inside, wondering “am I?”… don’t be afraid. Life without alcohol is a lot of fun. I’ve been sober about 36 of my 42 years! I’d be happy to tell you more…