Today is four years. It’s hard to remember my life without sobriety. To think of myself as the guy who would go around a bar at closing time pretending to help clean, when in reality, I was just drinking stranger’s leftovers. Because, hey, free booze right? Jesus. Even after four years I’m still discovering how lost I was.
A lot has happened this past year that tested my resolve. I lost a friend to cancer, I quit my job, I started my own practice. I’ve become a stay at home dad and started potty training my daughter. If that doesn’t make anyone want to drink, then they’re lying to you. I finished my first novel. Reflecting on that, I’m realizing that book has been a work in progress almost as long as I’ve been dry. Crazy.
The amount of things I’ve learned across the time I’ve fought the demons within me is the fuel that powers my writing so it’s impossible to put it all down here. What I can tell you, and as I’ve told many before, is that nobody does it alone. Period. I don’t know a single person who has. I know I didn’t. It took a team of cops, corrections officers, lawyers, judges, and clinic staff to get me there. It took a group of like-afflicted persons made up of any mix of color, gender, creed and social class you can think of to carry me the rest of the way. It took the unwavering love, compassion and support of those closest to me to keep me afloat when I let despair claw its way in.
It also took a lot of forgiveness. I’ve noticed people talk about it a lot in an ephemeral sort of way. That, of course forgiveness is good, we should totally forgive people. What I think most don’t understand is how deep it goes. Can you forgive the drunk driver who killed your son? I don’t know if I could, but I met someone who has. Are you capable of forgiving, and loving the one who took your legs? Shit, I don’t know about that one either but I also met that person. You know what both of those people do? They fight for legislation to make treatment easier to obtain for drunk drivers. To seek a more compassionate legal system. That kind of forgiveness is unimaginable to me and yet here I am alive, well, and thriving in no small part to their efforts. What’s more is that when I had a full, clear vision of the damage I had done to myself and to those around me I had to learn to forgive me enough to allow for a second chance. To truly believe that I deserved it and to accept the forgiveness of those who also thought I should have another shot. It is not easy.
To say I’m grateful to those who’ve stuck by me, supported me and never blinked twice when I had to leave due to my limits on being around alcohol is such a gross understatement that it almost feels offensive. I don’t know how to adequately thank someone for being the reason I’m alive. All the same, thank you. I dedicate this year of sobriety, as I do every year to you all. I love you, and thank you for loving me in return.