Today I celebrate 18 years of continuous sobriety.
What a day.
It feels like yesterday that I started this journey. The first two years were spent struggling to stay sober even for a week.
Then, as though God gifted me in a way He knew I could hear, I was shocked out of my complacency by a man who cared more about my sobriety than whether or not I liked him. He made me so mad, I stayed sober at him for 6 months.
At the end of six months I was crazy and scared and sad and angry - in other words, I suffered from untreated alcoholism and it was kicking my butt.
However, God is faithful and great and He did not let me flounder for long. He gave me Kenny D., my first sponsor, who handed me a tape of HIS sponsor and I heard the real message for the first time.
Every time someone told this guy he needed to quit drinking he wanted to scream, "I am sober right NOW and I hate it!"
When I heard those words I felt as though a door was opened in my mind and a light flooded the darkness. I knew...I knew....and it suddenly all made sense.
Today I know that the Holy Spirit filled me up that night, fanning the flames of my Baptism and Confirmation. The efficacious Sacraments were not dead in me; rather, the gifts I had received at those times were just waiting for the right time to come back to fullness.
I cannot say I have not wanted to escape from reality once or twice (or 100 times) since getting the message. What I can say is that I have not had to drink or use since then, I have always been able to turn fully to Jesus and His Church and say, "Help me" whenever the tough times have hit.
I am so grateful for all I have been given, even when I have not wanted to stay sober I have been able to do so and for this alcoholic Catholic that is saying a lot.
Thank you, Jesus and Mary and all the saints. You are my salvation.