The remarkable aspect of my recovery from alcohol addiction is not the disease I recovered from, but the life that I recovered too. Not that the recovery is not remarkable, but that recovery was only a door into something far more miraculous and amazing than I could have ever imagined.
In a little over 22 months, this journey has taken me from being freed from a maddening craving and obsession for alcohol to a spirituality and suppression of my ego that has restored a childlike innocence in my relationship to God and the people around me. And finally, in the process of trying to figure out what has happened to me, I have been introduced to important discoveries in brain science, neuroplasticity, the science of epi genetic control, quantum physics and important mystical traditions from both Western and Eastern religions, to help make sense out of all of it. I have not only stopped drinking; I have discovered a life of mystery and possibility that I did not even know existed.
On October 17th-19th 2017 I attended the Brazos Alcoholics Anonymous Conference in Central Texas. I had determined that this conference was going to be the end of my drinking although I had no idea how I was going to do that. I had decided to stop drinking many times before, without success. I had also given up hope that God would or wanted to help. I had let Him down far too many times to expect any of His help. I was sure that if I was going to do this, I would have to do it by myself.
On Saturday night of the conference, I was invited to sit in the front row with some people from the AA group I was attending. Had I known about the AA count down tradition, I would have refused. Before the main speakers, they started the count down. long story short there was a lady who had been sober for 55 years. Then they went backwards to see who was sober the shortest time. I knew I was in trouble. They had everyone sit down as they counted down the years. when they got to 14 days only me and another guy from the same group was standing. at 13 I was alone. I was officially the least sober person at an Alcoholics Anonymous conference. I felt like an Apple user at a Microsoft convention.
Following the countdown, they brought me up on the stage along with the lady who was 55 years sober and another lady who had won the distinction of being the least sober person the year before. Then they gave me an Alcoholics Anonymous book that several people from the group had signed.
After the speaker was finished, I excused myself and returned to my room. Getting in bed, I picked up the Alcoholics book that they gave me and started looking at the names of the people who had signed it. I noticed that some people had written page numbers along with their names. I was stunned when I started reading the underlined sections on the numbered pages. It was like they were personally speaking to me.
One particular section, on page 99, said, “If there be divorce or separation, there should be no undue haste for the couple to get together. The man should be sure of his recovery. The wife should fully understand his new way of life. If their old relationship is to be resumed it must be on a better basis, since the former did not work. This means a new attitude and spirit all around. Sometimes it is to the best interest of all concerned that a couple remains apart.”
I was greatly touched when I read this. I too was separated from my wife, but that was not the thing that really impacted me. What affected me the most was the fact that there was no way that any of these people could have known me when they signed that book. They did not even know who was going to get the book. There had to be something spiritual behind the evening’s events. All this could not have been random. For the first time since coming to AA, I sensed that God still loved me, and I would not have to get sober alone. This was my AA miracle. I made the following day my official sobriety day October 18th, 2017 and have not had a drink since.
My biggest fear after quitting drinking was how was I going to fill the time I was used to spend drinking. I decided to spend my free time, driving back and forth to work or at home alone, listening to AA speaker tapes. This really helped me and helped me learn more about the disease of alcoholism regularly listed to 2 or 3 hours a day. I figured that between meetings and tapes, I did about 90 hours in 30 days, I did that for the first 9 months. Of Course, I also went through all the steps with my Sponsor. I am a firm believer in 12 step programs.
After the first nine months, I started listening to other self-help materials to learn more about what was happening to me. I focused on material related to the science of addiction, and spirituality. I am still doing that today.
A couple of months into my journey in recovery, I watched the Marvel movie Dr. Strange. I am kind of behind the times, as popular fiction is concerned, so I had never heard of Dr. Strange. I just thought it was a standalone movie. I did not find out he was a Marvel character until months later. This movie touched me in a surprising way. I was very impressed that this man who was simply looking for a way to heal his hands, so he could regain his career as a highly sought-after surgeon, would find so much more and be introduced to a world beyond his wildest imagination.
Although I was only a couple of months sober, at the time, I was beginning to see that there was far more involved in sobriety than simply the ability to stop drinking. I think I intuitively sensed there was a lot more to come and I emotionally related to many of the confusing and frustrating experiences the Dr. was having as he tried in futility to reconcile what he was learning with his former beliefs and attitudes. I also related to Dr. Stranger’s compulsive desire to learn everything he could about his new discoveries, as I had a great hunger for learning everything I could about my addiction and recovery.
This is just a drop in the bucket regarding the experiences I have had in the last 22 months. I have gone from a desperate lonely drunk whose life was falling apart in so many ways to a deeply happy and fulfilled individual, from the inside out. Happy joyous and free. in addition, my marriage and family has been restored, I am more productive personally and professionally, and every day I am excited about what is next.
The SHAIR sobriety network is the only Facebook recovery group I visit. I have visited other ones in the past, but I found this group to be the most positive and gracious. Today it is the only one I post on or respond to. I have also listened to a lot of the SHAIR podcasts. The SHAIR Recovery Podcast was very helpful, especially early in my recovery. I do listen to other recovery podcasts, as well, but the SHAIR Podcast has had an important impact on me. I think you do a very good job Omar Pinto. I know your humble approach and spirit is positively helping a lot of people in recovery.
Anyway, I am sorry that I exceeded your essay limits, but even this seems greatly deficient. So much more has happened to me. This does not begin to scratch the surface. Thank you though for your interest.
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