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This Ain't a Competition

Updated: Nov 5, 2019

"The person with the most sobriety is whoever woke up the earliest today."

~ Dick G., 45 years sober


Wait, what? Really?


I thought the person with the greatest number of days behind them was the winner. The person who could confidentally say, "Hi, I'm fill-in-the-blank and I'm an alcoholic and my sobriety date is bigger than yours". At least, that what I heard early on.


Nope. If you are sober today, you are sober. Your sobriety date is secondary. The fact that you are sober, regardless of how long is what's important.


When I first walked into the rooms of AA, I could barely even mumble my own name, yet alone admit that I was an alcoholic AND give the exact date of my last drink. Are you kidding me? I don't even want to be here! I'm just here to get my family off my back because I'm not even an alcoholic. But, if you tell me I have to conform and make up some date, then here it goes.


This is really difficult for a relapser because the date changes often and sometimes I’m not even sure when I took my last drink. I can't be honest with myself, so there's no possible way that I can be honest with you AND I'm so full of shame and guilt that now, I must lie to you. I have no choice because it’s been so long since I’ve been honest and I forgotten how. I have to because I don't know any other way. There's not even a chance of me being, what you call "rigorously honest". Nope. No way. No how.


Thank God, for my dear friend, Dick G.


His simple quote taught me that this sobriety date game isn't a competition. Well, it kind of is...but you are your only competition.


And, alcohol.

And, honesty.

And, your clock.


So, that's it. If you can compete against those scary things, then you are in the boxing ring. Can you make it just a few more hours and try to be the first one up to begin another sober day?


I, and I alone, own my sobriety date. Only alcohol can take it away from me. It is mine and I have earned it. Whether I am a minute sober or 45 years, like Dick. Humbly acknowledging my sobriety date and sharing it with my fellow friends of AA, is the my membership fee. With my sobriety date on the calendar, I own where I am in my own life, follow a few simple steps and keep coming back to do it over and over and over again. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking anytime during a 24 hour day period. One day at a time...as long as my alarm clock goes off earlier than Dick G's.



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