Thirty-four years ago today I walked into the Care Unit Detox Center in Cincinnati, Ohio to begin a 30-day inpatient alcohol/drug treatment program. I have remained sober since that day. In Alcoholics Anonymous, anniversaries are celebrated as a milestone. Over the years, the significance of these events has hit me differently. Just a few years ago, when living much more on autopilot, I completely forgot the anniversary until a few days after the fact. Today, the date looms much larger in my mind.
I have posted many times how my years of recovery from alcoholism proved a perfect preparation for living with cancer over the past year when the speculation about my cancer probabilities turned into a firm diagnosis. I recollect well-being told I had 3-6 months to live and wondering how to handle that.
The one-day-at-a-time lesson of AA kicked in fully last August as I sat in Audubon Park thinking of what I would miss most. I thought about the time spent with my wife Emma, our rescue dog Grace, riding my bike, gardening, sitting in the Park reading, and so forth. While sitting on that park bench It hit me – I best get busy with those things now while I am able.
Fast forward one year to today – although imperfectly, I have not wasted away the last year in dwelling in the problem. I spent a good bit more time at Touro Infirmary than I planned, but I also had many fantastic experiences in that process.
Emma and I set priorities that are going in the right direction to enhance whatever time we have together on this earth.
My path toward what Thomas Merton refers to as “true self” has produced many wonderful and unexpected vistas thanks to my church home at Rayne Memorial United Methodist and the School for Contemplative Living.
I knocked off some “bucket list” visits like the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Dr. Bob’s Home in Akron, and a handful of other places. I have continued my “institutionally retired” professional career with many rewarding experiences.
I truly tried to live into the solution and not dwell in the problem of my disease. I attribute this perspective as the primary reason in my surpassing all of my doctors’ expectations. Physically, mentally, and spiritually, I feel better than I did one year ago – even two years ago for that matter.
As true for everyone, I don’t know if I will be alive on August 4th of 2019 to celebrate my 35th Anniversary in sobriety. I firmly believe that were in not for the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, the starting point for my personal resurrection, I would not have received the gift of sobriety. I am truly grateful to Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Steps of Recovery for the last 34 years of sobriety and each day yet to come on the road to happy destiny.