Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Celebrating Sobriety

Twenty-five years today, one quarter of a century, 9131 days.

I’m actually at something of a loss for anything to say about it. I sort of quit “celebrating birthdays” some years ago, as sobriety is for me just a natural state of being that seems timeless any more. It’s who I am.

It’s not that I’m not grateful. I’m more grateful now than ever, not because my life is so good but rather because there are “bumps” in my life, some rather bad ones involving health issues, and they are not discoloring my life or causing me to live in fear as they certainly would be doing without the discipline of sobriety.

There are a number of meanings for the word “discipline.” I’m using two here; “a branch of knowledge or teaching,” a state which I have reached following years of practicing a “training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces spiritual and mental improvement.”

Okay, I’ll admit I changed that second definition just slightly, but…

If I was strolling on the beach and found a lamp buried in the sand, picked it up and rubbed it, and a genie appeared who told me I could change anything I wanted to about my life, I would tell it to go back in the lamp.

I am at peace with life today. My life is precisely the way it is supposed to be at this moment in time. As strange as I seems, I would not even change the fact that I have Parkinson’s Disease.

Acceptance is not a cafeteria or, as Joe Kelley once said, “You can’t be a little bit pregnant.” I either accept life or I don’t. As soon as I begin to feel that one thing could be better, that acceptance and the peace that stems from it is harmed.

And, to no small degree the destination is shaped by the journey. Part of where I am today has been shaped by hearing the doctor tell me I had that disease, by coming to terms with it, by learning to live with it. Take that away and I would not be in this place. Who knows, the place that I would be in might be okay, might even be better, but it would not be where I am right now, and where I am right now is exactly where I am supposed to be.

I don’t know why, and I don’t need to.

I came to this program with many great questions about life, important questions for which I wanted, demanded, answers. I did not get those answers, but something better happened.

The questions went away.