Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Courage to Change

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

It still makes me cringe just a bit in using the term "courage" in reference to my recovery from alcoholism. In general I reserve that word to define an individual wearing a uniform that signifies their commitment to protect and serve others - a military service person, a fireman, a law enforcement officer - those folks that lay their lives on the line when they punch the clock. Of course I don't have to look too far, across the room at this moment, to see a young man who I consider to be the bravest, most courageous person I've ever known. Instead the word I might be more comfortable with is perhaps determination...or tenacity...or resolved.

I'm halfway to getting my second chip: aluminum which signifies 30 days sober. Even though I made it 70 days last spring I never picked up that symbolic memento - mainly due to the fact that I had quit attending meetings  by then. And that my friends defines an alcoholic in a nutshell. Unconvinced I really had a drinking problem (man, you should've heard some of the stories those drunks told!), I decided that whatever issues I needed to deal with I could do it myself. Notice all of the "I"s? So on day #71 a beer seemed to be a deserved reward for all that sober introspection over the previous two & a half months.

This is my third attempt at Alcoholics Anonymous but this is the first time I've quit drinking for myself. That may seem like a selfish comment but if you could see the big picture you'd know that my decision to work the 12 Steps as laid out in the Big Book of AA is one the smartest that I've not only made for my family but for myself as well. It has only been 15 days but I am already seeing and feeling the positive changes in my life. And this time I am not afraid to blog about it.

Recall that last winter I made this entry. Yeah, it was a somewhat brave thing to write in those early stages of "sobriety." The funny thing is that I recall cringing within a few days of posting it because I wasn't really certain I was an alcoholic even though so many unhealthy incidents, issues, and relationships indicated otherwise. And even though I failed to achieve sobriety last spring the seed was planted at that time due to the encouragement of both my brothers (Cameron & Blair, I am so thankful for you guys).

There is no doubt that I am very fortunate to be where I am at this stage of my life. I still have my family, my home, and my health. In the past few weeks I have met some folks who have lost all to their addiction. And I am most thankful that at the age of 48, it's not too late to change.


Kyla said...

Good for you, Bennie! We're human, we make mistakes...the fact that we keep trying is what matters. It won't be easy, I'm sure, but I believe in you, you can do this.

Eric Fischer said...

I was so looking forward to one day sitting down over a glass of fine wine with you, cranberry juice just doesn't do it for me. But when the day comes that I can shake your hand and embrace you, will be a fine day indeed.

Mama Deb said...

You're doing great, Bennie!

Anonymous said...

Just here to offer my support and encouragement.