CHAPTER 17 – ONE YEAR ON
With my Nan’s funeral out of the way, a sense of normally returned to my life once again. All of the darkness that came about with the remorse for my actions had been lifted by my family at the funeral. So as March 2013 came to a close I was able to focus on the first anniversary of being sober.
Somehow that date of 29th March 2012 doesn’t seem to be a random date to just quit drinking, that day seems to have some significance, I’m not sure why, but the anniversaries or significant milestones always seem to fall on days of significance too. The first anniversary happened to fall on Good Friday, I’m sure it didn’t just happen to fall on that date, if it did I am thankful that it fell on that day, because it made it all the more memorable.
To be able to not only celebrate my freedom from addiction on that day, but to combine it with the day where we remember Christ’s sacrifice upon the cross for us all. It was the first time that I really felt I understood what Easter was all about and to experience it on a day that was such an important milestone in my life was an added bonus.
The weekend after James held a celebration at his house, inviting a number of people from Church who had been so supportive of me over the previous year. We had a great night, catching up and chatting about the previous year, it was a great way to celebrate and not a drop of alcohol in sight.
The previous twelve months had gone by so fast and so much had happened. The only low points up until then had really came about with the death of my Nan. There were times in those couple of weeks where I was at a real low and if I’m completely honest the thought of drinking again did cross my mind, but thankfully I was strong enough to avoid any temptation. I knew that not drinking was the only way I could survive and get through it.
In reality the only serious threat to my sobriety in the previous twelve months had come during those few weeks were the pain of the withdrawals were at their greatest. I knew then that my body was struggling to adapt without the alcohol that it had become accustomed to, I knew then I could end all of that pain with a drink, but through prayer and reaching out to friends, I found a way through it. Now those friends were coming together to celebrate with me, twelve months on there were so many people I owed a word of thanks to and they were there that night with me.
After the low start to March, it ended in such a great way, celebrating the strength I had found in God to get through. I had made through a year, I was grateful for that, because I knew in my heart, without that God intervention I would not have made it through the year, I was convinced that I would have suffered serious health problems or even worse, took my own life. But now I was celebrating life, celebrating all the amazing things that God had done in my life in just twelve short months.
By this time I was beginning to truly appreciate all of the points in my life before I got sober, in the those dark times when I was drinking to hide from my problems, where I could now really see God’s hand on my life. I obviously didn’t know it at that time, I couldn’t see it or hear it, but now I could appreciate it all. Even before I started to struggle I had stumbled across Christian music and found an interest in it. I didn’t know why, I didn’t really understand what it was saying into my life, but I sang along, not knowing why I was really listening to something I didn’t really believe in, but now I began to understand that this was just one of the stepping stones that God was putting in my path so I could find him.
Then came the people I would meet, over the years before my recovery I met so many people that in time would become such a support when I needed them. Before that they were just faces and names, people I liked, but never really thought I would have anything really in common with or would even really want to spend time with. But when it came down to it and I needed a support network, they were there in place already.
When I wobbled at the death of my Nan, they were all there once again, helping my through it all the way once again.
I guess there were so many stepping stones that God put before me when I was a lost alcoholic, I found myself desperate and stranded on the far side of the river, separated from the life that God meant for me and the only way over was to take a step on each of the stones laid across for me. Except when you then get close to the other side there’s one more step, but you can’t see it, you just have to believe it’s there, a deep breath and a step out in faith. I reached that step the night I prayed, to make it across to freedom I had to step out and trust in God, I did that night I first prayed, I stepped out and found my footing even though I couldn’t see the step below, then when I found that sobriety I finally made it to the other side and found the Father’s arms.
As March 2013 ended and April began, I was back in the spring of things, I was back out walking again and focused again. As the month went along everything seemed to be falling back into place after early March’s slip, but then it happened again, the numbness returned.
THANK YOU by JAKE HAMILTON & KIM WALKER-SMITH
Thank you for the summer
And thank you for the rain
And thank you for the pleasure
Thank you for the pain
Thank you for the flowers
That bloom in early may
And thank you for the winter
That washes fall away
I want to say thank you
Thank you for it all
Thank you for the deserts
Thank you for the trees
Thank you for the failures
And for the victories
Thank you for the pruning
That gives me room to grow
Thank you for the seasons
Where I learn to reap and sow
So come, let us worship
Let us release a joyful sound
Let us enter his presence
Let us all bow down