32 years ago tonight, I had my last drunk. My last big drunk. I had been drinking straight for a week, and my medicine wasn’t working, for the first time. And, I couldn’t get sober. It had been a week of drinking Gallo Red Wine, sometimes with 7-up, (pre-Wine Cooler). I was a lying, theiving, cheating, disgusting girl. I was 20 years old.
I remember vaguely someone bringing me upstairs to the sorority house I lived in at Fresno State. I remember lying there thinking I was going to die, or that I wanted to die. Suddenly, that thought that all alcoholics get: the moment of clarity. “You are an alcoholic.” That thought, as I know today, came from God. I started bargaining, and pleading. “I will be anything but that.”
The next day, two friends brought me upstairs after my professor had kicked me out of school, one more time. He said, “Your skin is gray, you need to go home.” One friend said “Stay with us, we’ll help you not drink.” The other friend was halfway down the hall, calling Alcoholics Anonymous.
*disclaimer here: I do not speak for AA.*
My very first meeting was tomorrow, March 27, 1979. I ended up drinking a *sip* of amaretto on the way to a meeting when I had 9 days sober, and I had to change my sobriety date. April 6th, I will have 32 years of continuous sobriety.
I’ve given birth to two beautiful boys, and lost 3 other babies in early pregnancy. I earned my advanced degrees and licenses. I’ve worked with dozens of classrooms of children. I’ve worked with the Red Cross & Cub Scouts. I have been given the gift of service. I am finally and happily in love with a sober man of great integrity.
In 32 years, I have loved deeper than I ever imagined.
I have lost some loved ones along the way: the ones who drank and died, the ones I buried, the ones who went away, and the ones I simply lost track of. I’m still looking for Joanne J., if you’ve seen her. She was my best friend in my first year of sobriety, and I love and miss her still. I pray she is sober and alive somewhere.
Tonight I remember all the women and men who helped me on my way, who made time when there was no time…to talk with me at 2 in the morning, to cry with me, and to comfort me. People who helped me do the 12 steps, and suffered my incessant whining.
32 years ago tonight, I got a new lease on life. I went to bed a drunk, and the next day woke up as a member of AA.
God only knows what’s in store for me next. I trust it will be the perfect plan. I do. I have 9 more days until my actual sobriety birthday, but tonight is the night that I remember.