God, grant me the serenity…
Hi, my name is Jessie and I’m an alcoholic. Today I had a not-so-good day. Not a “I went out and had eight drinks at the bar,” kind of day, but the “I want to go out and have eight drinks at the bar,” kind of day. The determination to stay happy and sober kept me going, however, and I was able to avoid the temptation I was feeling. Its getting easier to avoid these struggles and temptations, but it isn’t fun. I would have much preferred just going out and grabbing a few drinks to help me with the stress I felt during the day, but I’m learning new coping mechanisms every week and praying to God for the strength to make it through the hurdles in front of me.
The day really started off great. I woke up, went to an excellent AA meeting, ran some errands, and then I came home. Four days ago I came home to my apartment to find that the maintenance crew had removed the cement porch in front of my door that leads to the sidewalk. My porch wasn’t the only one missing, so I figured they were just replacing the ones that needed some work. I waited and waited, watching that empty space get filled with water from the rain while no work was being done, for four days. Then, on a beautiful Saturday morning while people are out and about, in and out of their apartments, the maintenance crew decided it would be a great time to fill in those empty areas with cement. So I come home, with two arms full of groceries, and no way to get into my apartment, the door completely blocked by wet cement.
The old Jessie would have thrown her groceries back in her car and walked to the bar on the corner. The sober Jessie stopped, took some deep breaths, and prayed to God for strength. I did take my groceries back to the car, I got back in, and contemplated my next move. I needed to pass some time until I was able to get into my apartment, and I knew that under no circumstance could I drink to wash away the anger that I could slowly feel building up inside of me. So, I went and had lunch. For the first time since I turned twenty-one, I sat at the bar of a restaurant, ordered lunch and ate, and didn’t have a drink. It felt good. It felt good knowing that I was able to sit down at that bar, enjoy a meal, and walk out sober. I went home and eventually made it back into my apartment with the satisfaction of knowing that I didn’t let temptation win.
Just knowing that I had the temptation to want a drink made me feel, for lack of a better word, like shit. I knew I had to do something productive with the rest of my day to keep my mind occupied and to make me feel better about myself. I did all of the household chores and my laundry, which took up a good amount of my time. Then, I did something that I think if a lost art – I wrote a letter. I actually put a pen to a piece of paper and I wrote a letter to someone. Writing, especially something good like I wrote in the letter, helped me really feel better and not so guilty about the urges I had earlier in the day.
I went to another AA meeting in the evening. This one in particular is one of my favorites. Its usually a relatively small group of people and the man who runs it is full of wisdom. Well, he made me lead the table tonight. It was my first time ever leading a table at a meeting and I feel like it was God’s way of punishing me for how much I wanted a drink earlier in the day. The topic: Steps six (Were entirely ready to have God remove all defects of character,) and seven (Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings,) of the AA twelve steps. God always has a way of giving you the topic you need.
Today more than ever I asked God to remove the pity anger I was feeling, to remove the urges I was feeling, and to allow me to feel better about myself. Although I haven’t gotten to the point in my recovery where I’ve reached steps six and seven, I feel that it is NEVER too early to ask God to help us identify and remove our defects and shortcomings. Everyday when I wake up I pray to God and ask Him to help me live my life and be the person He wants me to be, because I know I wouldn’t voluntarily choose to be that person.
I’m very fortunate that I trust God to lead me to make the right choices and decisions. I see people in the program that struggle to let Him guide them and to trust Him with their will, and it breaks my heart. I would absolutely not be able to maintain my sobriety without God and the knowledge that He is always there for me. If I didn’t have my faith, I wouldn’t have my sobriety, plain and simple.
Our Father, who art in Heaven…
I’m very grateful to be here with all of you on this 20th day of sobriety, and I look forward to many more.