10 Year's of Soberiety

2002.  The first half of that year was quite hazy, the rest is pretty clear because on May 26th, 2002 God granted so many people prayers by leading me to sobriety.  I was in the end stage of alcoholism.  I remember the first time I went to rehab and I was in stage 1 and I thought, I'm not that bad.  Other people are worse than me.  I can still drink.  Now, in 2002, I had severe alcoholism.  I could not live without a drink I thought.  And nobody, absolutely nobody would I listen to if it came to getting me to quit.  I was prideful, arrogant, selfish. My body was shutting down.   But I'll never forget that conversation with the one person that could lead me to sobriety, Jesus.  The ultimate healer.  I remember that day, I remember His voice in my heart and for once in a long, long time I followed His voice, I followed the path that He would have for me.

I was not instantly healed.  God set me aside, with nothing but a Bible, and I started with nothing.  Or what I thought was nothing.  Funny, God stripped away everything but what mattered.  Like family.  And I went back to the teachings of my childhood and started with the basics in the Bible, like I was six again.  I began to learn to hear the voice of God in my heart.  I began to learn to choose his way instead of my way.  I'd ask my dad questions and if there was pride, arrogance, he'd call me on it.  Don't get me wrong, that was not a bad thing.  Years of alcohol abuse had instilled some pretty bad habits.  In love Dad would give me advice and answer my questions of the Bible.  It was not a day process, it tooks months and years.  My Mom, she was the encourager.  How could she not be?  God had delivered her son from the pits of a hellish disease and he was safe.  God had His hand on me and she knew that.  There is no safer place to be in my opinion.  Through the storms that raged in those early years of sobriety, God would calm the wind and the waves.   And then there was my brother.  He probably doesn't know this, but he helped me immensely.  I'm getting choked up writing this.  I realized what I'd lost in my brother when I got sober.  And getting that relationship back would drive me at times when I wanted to give up.  It took patience, it took waiting, and yet I remember that drive to meet him halfway from where we both lived to talk to him.  I was, and am, so proud of him and for what he's done.  He also helped me with my codependency.  Those early days of seeing him I had to talk about me and how good I was doing.  And I remember when the light bulb went off and I realized I was trying to seek his and my parents approval.   I realized that I could just be me.  I didn't have to prove anything, my life and actions do that.  He helped me to realize that brothers just love each other because they are brothers.

So now 10 years later.  2012.  I went through a test two weeks ago being alone for a week with Ginger in Florida.  Almost 10 years of learning, teaching, encouragement, prayer had come to a big test, could I live a week alone sober.  Forgive me, but I looked at it like a semester exam.  Could I utilize the tools I'd been given.  I aced the exam.  One of the tools I used was driving straight home from work and not leaving once I got home, except for one night that I went to Ginger's Mom and Dad's house.  Sure, I was tempted on that drive home, you know the biggest night of temptation?  When I was going over to the padre's house that night!  I say tempted, the thought came into my head and I just kept on driving.  See there is wisdom in that, if you don't stop into the store, you won't get the beer.  Just sayin.  There were other tools, getting gas in the morning (so you don't stop at the store at night to "get gas").  There was the devotions in the morning.  There was Final Fantasy X!!!!!!  (to occupy my mind).  I talked with my parents, I'd talk to Ginger, and in the end I ate lots of junk food, stayed up way too late playing my game, and couldn't wait for Ginger to get back.   But it was God who carried me through that week.  I may have executed a plan, but that plan was God's, and that is where I give the credit to.

I look at my life now and I'm happy.  Truly happy.  I have a loving, loyal, God loving wife.  As far as a wife goes, she is a precious, priceless jewel.   My family, well, I have the most wonderful family too.  Mom, Dad, Phillip and his family, I couldn't be happier.  From love to encouragement to advice and wisdom, they have helped me to this point immensely.   So as you see it was not all just me.  I've had an immense support group, my family, Ginger's family, my beautiful wife, and God.  My job in sobriety is to execute the plan God gives me and through their prayers and support I'm able to execute that plan.

Even though today is special, and it is, there was a time I couldn't go 10 hours without a drink, it still takes the mentality of one day at a time.  3650 days of sobriety is still counted one day at a time.  Tomorrow will begin year 11 and Mom I know I said I was thinking about stopping to count, I'm going with your plan and continuing to count because this day, May 26th, a miracle happened and it is too precious to not remember.

So I want to talk about photography for a minute.  My Dad and I had a conversation one time about drawing and even photography.  It is a hobby.  I've drawn for money but it becomes tedious then it loses it's appeal.  Yes, I feel I'm good, but I do it for fun.  Photography is much the same way.  I love to take pictures.  But I found with the Project 365 that I felt pressure (put on by myself and only myself) to post the picture each day.  And then I realized I was avoiding the blog.  It was becoming a job.  I take my pictures, but it had too many constructs, like, I've got to take this pic, any pic for my blog.  And so it became a matter of getting any picture for the blog, not looking around and taking it as inspiration came to me.  And my Dad's voice comes in my head about being a hobby.  Take pictures for the fun of taking them, not because you feel you have to take pictures to share with the masses.  Codependency?  Seeking Approval?  Maybe.  But I've found my artistic flair again and I'll post as I feel led to post.  And somehow that control being back into my hands, what I choose, makes all the difference in the world.  Will I post the pictures from the last week, maybe, I haven't decided, but it feels good that I feel I've given myself that choice.  The picture I took today is below:

There is a story behind this.  These are my keys.  They say the importance of someone can be told by how many keys they have.  Don't know much about that but in 2002 I had one key, and I even lost that.  Now, I have two sets of car keys, home keys, work keys.  This is a picture to show the growth.  Incidentally, there are ten individual keys on my key ring (I have three of the same kind of pad lock key for some strange reason....).  One for each year.

For those that read this and you may not believe in God, or Jesus, I'm not hear to try to convince you of that.  For me, no one but God could have delivered me from the pit I was in and for those who know me from before to now, realize the miracle that I am.  I am my Mom's walking miracle and today we celebrate what God has done.


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