One of my best friends in Wilmington dropped by my office with a beautiful plant in a huge tea cup and saucer. What a perfect present - I am, after all, a confirmed teetotaler. I believe Sharon was the prototype God used when he was compiling His list of attributes that should go into the creation of exactly what a friend should be.
I went to a meeting tonight and I received lots of hugs and hand clasps. I picked up my five year chip. It serves as a reminder of so much more than five years. The past five years have been filled with more blessings than I could possibly merit and grace beyond my imagination.
After the meeting, a very special friend patiently waited for me to finish a business meeting, and then took me to one of my favorite restaurants to celebrate this miracle of a milestone that started five years ago on a day that felt like the darkest hour the universe could deliver. No surprise I guess, I read somewhere that it's always darkest before the dawn, and even though I was in no shape to realize it at the time, my "dawn" was about to begin.
Five years ago my Daddy told me that it would be OK, that I would rise up from the low place I found myself inhabiting. I found it impossible to believe, but I had to believe this man I revere and respect and trust so much, was telling me the truth. I clung to the hope that he was right. As it turns out, he knew what he was talking about and, one day at a time, the fog began to lift, my vision began to clear and my focus returned.
When I finally put down the bottle, I picked up a white chip and, with the help of God, I also picked up a real life. A sober existance.
So many times today, as I shared with my friend Steve over an incredibly delicious prime rib, I was frequently startled today as my mind replayed the events of that day five years ago. I didn't know you could get from where I was then, to where I am now. I had tears in my eyes five years ago, mostly from sheer desperation and fear. I had tears in my eyes this evening, too, but they sprang from immense gratitude and a measure of thanksgiving that just feels huge.
Learning to live life on life's terms can be frustrating, confusing and sometimes downright annoying but I have to tell you, it's just the best gig going and I just have to say that the good days have far exceeded the not so good moments.
To my daughter Katie, my son Justin, my amazing parents, my sponsor, my faithful friends both inside and outside the Fellowship, I just want to say a huge, heartfelt THANK YOU, for holding me in your prayers, holding my hand when I needed it, encouraging me when I felt small and inadequate and cheering me on through every one of those "steps". "The Promises" Bill Wilson wrote about in the Big Book aren't fiction. It's about "AMAZING GRACE", and it saved me, in every way a person can be saved. Life isn't perfect - it never has been and it never will be but I can tell you this without reservation...
Life is good.