By Christine R.

“You aren’t giving up the booze, you are getting your life back.” That’s what “Happy” said to me as I trudged through the door of happy destiny. Happy lived up to her name. She was always irritatingly, inspiringly and invariably happy. A sponsor to many and a warm welcome to newcomers like me.

While at a meeting recently, I shared this little quote. The following morning, a woman with only three days of sobriety revealed how the words saved her from drinking the night before.

Here is her story: “Yesterday was my daughter’s 14th birthday. For dinner, she wanted to go to her favorite Mexican restaurant in San Francisco, on Valencia St. Last night, with the summer evening being soft and fine and COVID standards still in place, everyone was dining outside. Block after block, margaritas were flowing everywhere. Everyone was drinking but me. At first I was upset, angry and envious. How come those people can drink and I can’t? What’s  wrong with me that I can’t have a drink? Then I remembered, ‘I’m not giving up anything. I’m getting my life back.’ It saved me. 

Later on at my daughter’s birthday party, party goers noticed how much better I looked. How much happier and collected I seemed. All because I did not pick up that first drink. All because I saw I was getting my life back.” As the newcomer said those words, I could again see and hear my friend, Happy. More deeply understanding how she acquired her name, listening to this pass-it-on experience, I was Happy. In the chapter Working With Others, our Big Book says we work with other alcoholics … “to live and be happy.” Here was living proof that morning we were alive and happy. 

In our Program, we don’t know which phrase or sentence will sustain us in rough going. Sometimes it’s “Easy does it.” Or “This too shall pass.” Our disease is one of perception. How we view things determines a successful or not so successful outcome. Running out the door without my glasses, I can chide myself and say, “Shoot! I forgot my glasses.” Or I can be uplifted in the memory and say, “Thank God, I remembered my glasses.” Either way, I’m right. I can look at giving up drinking as giving up something. Or I can view it like I’m “getting my life back.”

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