04 June 2011
Do you believe in miracles?
The 1980 Olympic hockey game ended with announcer, Al Michaels asking, "Do you believe in miracles?" It was a miracle. The heavily underdog United States hockey team had just won the gold medal. It would take me 14 years to truly understand the power of that statement. Do you believe in miracles?
14 years ago, on the Friday before Labor Day, I went to my first AA meeting in a long time. It was my first AA meeting since I started drinking two years earlier. It was the first time I ever went to an AA meeting drunk.
What the meeting was about I have no idea. I sat in the back and was just there. As the talk went around the room, it got to the person sitting next to me and he introduced himself and I looked up and realized that I knew him.
For the first time all night I listened. And he spoke with such eloquence and grace that I was "hooked." By the time he was done it was my turn to speak. I sat dumbfounded because this guy went to the church where I was a member. He was a pillar of the community and right then - like me - he was an alcoholic.
I don't know why but after he talked I felt like I was in the right place and I belonged. I was at home. I didn't say much that night. All it came down to was me saying that "without a doubt I am an alcoholic."
After that meeting I went into hiding. I was defeated and alone. That whole night I drank and drank until I finally passed out. I woke up Saturday morning and began drinking again. I knew I was defeated but yet I still drank.
By late morning I was half drunk when my ex-wife found me. She had brought me lunch and was wondering how I was doing? Now not only depressed I felt totally worthless. This lady still believed in me a little bit but there I was already on my way to another drunken day.
Eventually, she'd leave and I was once again alone. In my car under the front seat I still had two beers. In an empty parking lot I sat in my car and drank. For a little while, I contemplated suicide. Then memories of the night before at that AA meeting found a place in my soul.
I remembered listening to that one person speak and found a little bit of strength to admit that I needed help. A little after 2 o'clock I finished my last beer and debated about what I wanted to do. Part of me said, "screw it let's get more beer," while another part said, "ENOUGH!"
I had no idea how long I could stay sober, but right than I was going to try. The rest of the day I went back into hiding. I slept a lot, for me it was easiest way to stay sober.
By Sunday morning my whole body was shaking and I was sweating. That Sunday was pure hell but I didn't drink. Monday was Labor Day. Through my fog I began working on a recovery plan. Amazingly, this simple project kept me sober all day.
Tuesday I had to go back to work and the plans I made that Monday began to fall into place. By the grace of God, those plans helped me build a foundation for my sobriety. A sobriety that has now reached 14 years.
Those early days were literally moment to moment. It took me a couple of weeks before I began to vision sobriety in 24 hour increments. Which I still do till this day.
When I quit drinking I was drunk from the moment I awoke to the moment I passed out. I slept with a six-pack of beer on my nightstand. I had to have some beer on my drive to work, just to get over the shakes. I lived and nearly died because of my need for alcohol.
Do you believe in miracles? I do because this article was written by one. Thank you God, for a second chance.