Last night I got to hear Kevin’s story all in one meeting, instead of the bits and pieces I’ve gotten over the years, and it was incredible. So it inspired me to continue with mine.
When last I left off, I talked about my first day sober, and about getting my 24 hour chip. I said I was still friends with the man who gave it to me, and that man is the Kevin I’ve been talking about. We’ve been realizing how there’s so few of us left from our “class of 2005”. Its sad and scary to think about how many decided they couldn’t be sober. Some we’ve lost track of, some have probably died, some we get snatches of info about and they’re using.
Those first few months sober are quite a blur. At first it was all about learning how to get through each day without taking a drink. The man I came in with stuck around, but only because he wanted to be with me. He wasn’t serious about recovery. I got a sponsor after about a week, another woman who had worked the steps, who was going to guide me through the process. He got a sponsor to say he had one, but he never called him or worked the steps.
I met my sponsor once a week and we did a step a week. Life was all about going to work, going to a meeting, going out to eat and then going to bed and doing it all over. Looking back, it was awesome! My first friend in sobriety was Georgie. She’s still my best friend today. She got the nickname because Kevin could never remember her real name, so she told him to call her George. We had exchanged numbers one night after a group of us went to eat after a meeting. I was at work one day and checked my voicemail, and she had called and I was sooo excited haha! I called her back that night, and she was in Blockbuster. She walked around the store talking to me for 45 minutes. She had gotten sober about a month before me, Kevin about a month before her.
One night Georgie and I were out to eat with some people after a meeting, and we had gone to this place that was a sports bar kind of place and where I was sitting I was facing row upon row of beer taps. I didn’t have enough money to eat, so I was just nibbling from people’s plates. I couldn’t handle it. I went outside to smoke, and Georgie came out, and she was having a hard time too and we plopped down on the concrete. She noticed we were sitting in a large square on the concrete, and we called it our “square of despair”. My how times have changed.
The man I came in with stuck around until we got our thirty days, and then he called me one night saying he accidentally picked up a 6 pack of beer. Right. Accidentally. And alcoholics rarely buy 6 packs. Whats the point? I told him to call his sponsor and hung up. I remember it so well because I had stopped at the CBS and was looking at make-up after a meeting. He never made it back. I look at him like the wave that carried me to shore and then went back out to sea. I still keep track of him, and he’s drinking worse than ever.
Life went on in this way, working, meetings, fellowshipping. I was doing a step a week and starting to feel so much better. I had accepted that there was a power greater than myself, though I didn’t understand it. I trusted it. It worked for all those other people, it worked for my sponsor.
There were bbq’s, pool parties, picnics and potlucks, all sober people having parties, we spent the 4th of July in the pool and then downtown to watch the fireworks. Me and Georgie were inseperable. We would sit at Denny’s until well past midnight telling stories.
One day I was having a crisis of some sort and needed to vent to my sponsor. She took me to McDonald’s and bought me a salad but she didn’t want to hear my whining. She tried telling me about this group of sober young people who were putting on a conference, and how I should get involved. I wanted no part in it. I was doing my 4th step, the searching and fearless moral inventory, and I was swamped. I didn’t want to hear solution. She got out a piece of paper, wrote a list of things for me to do, gave me the paper, and walked out. She left me crying over my salad at McDonald’s. Best thing she could have done for me. I ran to my other sober friend’s apartment and whined and moaned and she co-signed my bs being a newcomer too. She’s now back in Chicago smoking crack. Man.
One day, a new guy was in the meeting. A new interesting guy, who moved here from California. He was hot. He sounded like Jesse James from Monster Garage. I liked him. He said he hoped we had a good young people’s group here. He ended up joining that committee my sponsor wanted me to join, and when he told me I should join it, I did hehe. We put on this crazy young people’s conference and I was on the host committee. It was then that I started to fall in love with the program. It was then that I saw I could still have fun. I sang karaoke for the first time sober at that conference, and I remember Lish running up to me after. Lish had been about 6 months ahead of me in sobriety, and we’re still great friends today.
We ended up forming a standing service committee of young people, and I was elected secretary. It was awesome to feel like such an important part of something. We did a road trip to northern California for a young people’s conference, and that was so amazing. I stayed up for 44 hours straight at one point, because there were just too many people to meet, too many guys to flirt with. The conference was at a really nice hotel, and there were just people everywhere all the time. It was incredible. One of the guys who went with us was a guy I had hated. He ended up becoming my co-secretary after he was trying to get a position and not getting one. Out of nowhere I nominated him to be my co, and then wondered what the hell I had gotten myself into. We ended up making amends to each other, and he was the one who kept me sane on that road trip. He’s still sober today, I only hear tidbits about him since he moved away.
I still ran into Kevin at meetings, but we didn’t really hang out anymore. He was a bit older than me, and didn’t do all the crazy stuff I was doing. I had had such a crush on him when I was new, and I remember my sponsor telling me that men were like drinks on legs for me at that time. She advised I not date for the first year. Man. I remember hanging out with hot sober guys at the coffee shop years before my drinking took off, and now I understood why none of them could date lol.
I stayed single that first year, not by my choice. I was such a flirt. But nothing ever happened, and for that I ‘m grateful.
I moved into a much nicer apartment, one I thought I’d never be able to afford, right by work. I loved the complex and checked it out on a whim. I got approved and moved into a one bedroom. I think I was like, oh, 8 or9 months sober. It was so nice, being in a new place I had never drank in. I fed birds, it was so quiet and safe. I spent my first Christmas sober in that apartment, I had gotten to decorate it, and I stayed in all day just by myself, and happy with my own company, truly happy, for the first time in years.
That sponsor had moved away and I had gotten another, and we continued on the steps with vigor and I started making amends, repairing relationships with friends and family. My Grandma insisted on buying me a better car, so I upgraded from the beater Impala to a cute little used Honda. I had a nice apartment, a nice car, still had my job, had a host of friends, a faith in something bigger than me, all was so incredible in that first year.
I was kinda having a fling with a guy at 11 months sober. It wasn’t sexual but we confessed our undying love for one another haha!! Yeah, not. My ex-boyfriend, I’ll call him G, from the old drinking days and I were still really good friends, having known each other since I was a freshman in high school, and having dated off and on through the years. He came to the meeting where I picked up my one year chip, to support me. A bunch of us went out to eat after. A whole year sober. Wow!
I’m going to leave off here, because it starts getting really interesting after this point. Life really started happening, and it was either pick up the tools, turn to God, or turn to the bottle, which I almost did.