My belly button birthday is Sunday. I’ll be 52. Which is a miracle because when I turned 30 I wept, not believing that I would make to 30. I did, and it was a hop, skip, fall, skid, 2 divorces, 2 relapses, one kid to treatment, another depressed, falling in love, and ordination process in the Episcopal Church to 52.
When I got sober the first time at 25 in 1988 I was so emotionally and spiritually immature that I really believed God should give me what I wanted because I was good now. I was going to work, I wasn’t sleeping around, as much, I was going to meetings, and seeking a relationship with my Higher Power. I picked a sponsor who wasn’t as helpful as I probably needed and I had no tools or understanding of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and consequently didn’t stay sober.
I got sober again in September 1992 in Chicago, and that was my white light, struck by a thunder bolt, spiritual experience. I walked into the Lincoln Park Alano Club and within in a few months I understood that alcohol and drugs were but a symptom of what really ailed me: fear, loneliness, insecurity, a feeling of never, ever being good enough, and a hole in my soul that was so deep and expansive that it seemed like nothing would ever fill it or make me feel better. And then I read the steps on the wall and the first 164 pages of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and knew that I knew that I knew that God was the answer. The only answer. And so I sought a relationship with God with the hunger and voraciousness of an infant gone all night with no milk.
I’m 52 on Sunday and 15 years sober, because I didn’t stay sober the second time around in ’93. I had a baby, married his alcoholic father, had another baby, and had an affair, drank for 9 months to hold the marriage together and finally separated from my children’s father and got sober again, November 3, 2000.
In the last 15 years my primary purpose has been to stay sober, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and to help another alcoholic achieve sobriety. I have been active in Alcoholics Anonymous through another marriage and another divorce, through falling in love which was probably one of the most painful and fulfilling experiences of my life because I now know what it means to be truly and wholly yourself and be completely vulnerable with another human being. Through seminary, the ordination process which has tested every ounce of faith, courage, and acceptance I have, through making the gut wrenching decision of sending my daughter away to treatment, to watching my son traverse the pain and joy and fulfillment of growing up, through the successes and failures of his life on his path, and so much more. Through it all, every so often, I have “stood in the Presence of Infinite Power and Love.” I have stepped from bridge to shore and every so often, by grace through faith, I have lived in conscious companionship with my Creator. (p56. Big Book)