by Kathleen C
Eventually through going to additional meetings I got a sponsee. She opened my eyes to the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Going to chip meetings, going out to dinner after a meeting, celebrating people’s birthdays, you know: just having fun. There is fun in sobriety. Everything, a lot of things are a lot easier sober. Including fun things. Yes, all the responsible things like paying your bills and showing up on time and making appointments and keeping them, but also things like appreciating art, music and other people. I got to really appreciate my husband.
It takes a village to keep me sober
Dick and I were together for 41 years. The first 12 I was drinking and using, and the last 29 I was clean and sober. I think we had so much more fun when he didn’t have to worry about what kind of weird, crazy, irrational thing I was going to do. I was still a little difficult. I’m no day at the beach in relationships. He used to say, “And people think you’re the nice one!” Not necessarily true but I really was so grateful for this program because we do get to do fun things. My sponsor Bonnie and I do things, like there’s a particular mural artist down in San Jose and Los Gatos who’s got stuff all over the place. We go hunt down his work.
On a more serious note, I also got to take care of my husband for the last year of his life. That was an amends. We had a heck of a lot of fun. We did things that we wanted to do that we had always wanted to do. There are a lot of back roads up in Inverness. Dick would say, “You know, I’ve always wanted to go up there and see what was back there in the woods.” I’m driving him, in my Lexus, which is bottoming out on every corner. We’re driving past the signs that say, “No Trespassing, Private Road.” You know, we had wonderful adventures.
We had traveled the world. We had done so many wonderful things with our kids. They actually wanted to spend time with me. They lived in Argentina for about five years. They were calling and emailing and texting. I would tell people, “I probably hear more often from my kids than people whose kids live in Oakland.”
I feel that I’ve gotten back my life. What living sober is about is living my life. It’s not perfect, it has challenges. There’s a lot of potential out there. One huge difference between me drinking and using and me sober, is now I say yes. Back then I always said no, I was afraid, I couldn’t do it. You know that thing The Big Book talks about: we don’t want to try something unless we can do it perfectly the first time. That’s the way I was when I was drinking and using. Also just the fear of people seeing who I really was and how I really was. I don’t have that so much anymore.
People think you’re the nice one
I will try things and reach out to people. I’m very, very grateful to the women I have sponsored because they keep me sober. I was on the phone one time and Dick was listening to me talk and he said, “How many women do you sponsor? Isn’t it a terrible burden?” I said, “Honey, you just don’t understand; it takes a village to keep me sober.” I think that’s true of all of us.
We don’t have to do this alone. We will never walk alone. We will never dance alone. We will never sing alone. It’s one big karaoke party. You don’t have to be drunk to do it. I don’t have to be drunk to do anything now. I’m really super grateful and very happy to see all of you. Thank you so much for letting me share.