That is how many days I have lived since I last drank or used. That is a long fucking time. For regular people, that is 28 years. Which is the same amount of time but feels very different. 10,220 days is more accurate really. I mean, I didn’t do this a year or a month at a time. I literally didn’t drink one day at a time for a whole bunch of days in a row. And that is nothing short of miraculous!
They say 10,000 hours makes you an expert. And I wish I could claim to be an expert of recovery or 12 step work or something like that. What I really have proved to myself is that the only thing I am truly expert at is drinking myself into oblivion. And once acted upon by spiritual forces, I am capable with a great deal of effort and help, to stop doing that one moment after another.
Miracles happen all the time. I have come to believe in them. Rely on them. This morning I am making a 7 hour car ride on basically faith alone. I am praying for a Hail Mary from an insurance company today...so yes, I will take your prayers also.
It is a weird day. My son will be heading to yet another treatment center. And I will spend the bulk of my 10,220th day with him, moving him from one facility to another. I am happy to do this because I know, really, first hand, what his struggle might feel like. I am showing up and doing my best. Taking the next indicated action. Praying that this time, we all have a different outcome.
But I know that there is nothing one can do to help someone who doesn’t want help. Nothing. So I may be spending my time, money and energy on a fool’s errand. But what I have learned over the last 10,220 days is that one never knows. There were people who bet against me when I first got sober. They didn’t think I would make it. And I am grateful for their scorn today. Pride being my biggest character defect kept me sober in those early days. I did it full spite and anger. I would not let them be right about me! Fuck them! I would not drink right at them and show them!
Of course, the joke was on me. I stayed sober out of sheer force of will and anger. But that was not sustainable. For me, luckily, I heard some things that resonated and I kept coming back. And viola! 10,220 days in the bank!
I wish it were that easy. It wasn’t. It has been a lot of work. Mine and others. So many others. So many people have helped me achieve this milestone. I would haven’t made it to 30 days without a great deal of love, help and attention. (Thank you Eve, Mac, Rick, Liz and Betsy). And I have had the privilege of paying that back day after day, year after year. And I am honored. I know what it is to suffer. I also know what it is to recover.
So on this 10,220th day, I want to say thank you to my parents for never giving up on me and for all the time, energy and money they contributed to my recovery. I want to say thank you to every single sponsor I have had over the years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you or who I am. To every woman I have ever sponsored or even just talked to, you helped me way more than I ever helped you. To God, thank you for helping me see something in myself that was worth saving. To my children, for allowing me to be their mother and showing me that drinking is never a good idea no matter how stressful and hard a situation may be. To my friends, sober and not, thank you for helping me. Thank you for loving me, showing up for me and caring enough about me to tell me the truth. To my boyfriend, thank you for walking this journey with me. The best is yet to come, I swear it.
It has taken every single second of every single day for the past 10,220 days to get me to this moment where I sit on my new couch, surrounded by my daughter, cats and dogs, snuggled up and cozy in a home that I own. I am awake at 3 am today so that I can be of service to someone else, hopefully many. I pray that my son is a willing recipient today...please, if there is one thing that I could pray for today:
God, please grant my son passage to this amazing life. Please give him that gift of desperation. Please help him find in himself one thing that is worth saving and then let him hold onto that with everything he has. Not for me, his mother. But for him. Let him see that when you build a life you don’t need to escape from, life is good. Life is amazing. Life takes on new meaning. I am not asking you to spare him. I am asking you to help him, help himself, just like you did me all those years ago. Let him find his way so that he may join the recovery ranks and help others. I want you to save him for me. But more importantly, I want you to save him so that he can be of service to others.
And that is what I have learned: service to others is the way to live a productive, meaningful life. Service saves. It did me all those many years ago as I stood at the kitchen sink washing ashtrays fuming because I had just quit smoking. I stood there night after night, washing those disgusting metal ashtrays, loudly and with a great deal of complaint and resentment. But I was there. Doing the deal. Sometimes sobriety looks like that. Doing seemingly pointless tasks without receiving proper credit or appreciation and with great personal sacrifice. LOL. But I am here to tell you that sometimes washing dirty, gross ashtrays is the portal to salvation. It was for me. Perhaps it can be for you. Or my son. Or you over there.
Regardless of who reaches out for help. I remain willing to do what I can. Always. Still.
Thank you for my life.