There are always a few important days in a year that each of us celebrates even if that celebration is within. Maybe it isn't a celebration but just a day we remember because in some way, shape or form it affected us personally. Oddly enough, most of us in recovery or maybe it is anyone at all, put less importance on our real birthday than others days throughout the year. I have never been one of those people who get all excited about a birthday and honestly, as long as they continue to come each year I am in gratitude.
For many of us our sobriety date is first and foremost because we see this as our rebirth; our second chance; our new lease on life and it is certainly all of these things. I include my "smobriety" (no smoking) date as very important because I was able to use the same tools I used for alcohol recovery. A third very important date for me is the day I wrote my first article for BellaOnline. This March I celebrated five years of writing a weekly article and sending it out as the newsletter, "Keep It Simple". Perhaps this week's article will sound all about me but the truth is, I would love for you to think of your own journey and what you have gained in recovery regardless of how much time you have been sober.
A little over five years ago my daughter told me that there was an opening for a 12 Step Recovery Editor on BellaOnline. I was unfamiliar with the site but read about what I needed to do to throw my hat into the ring of prospective writers. If you have ever read my bio for Bella, you will know that I had wanted to be a published writer for many years but for a number of reasons (well, probably only one reason and that one is named "alcohol"), it never materialized. I was serious and vigilant about everything Bella told me to do. I was ready! With my writing examples read to cut and paste, I went to the site and to my disappointment, a new editor had been named.
I felt disappointed and almost annoyed, I chalked it up to God's plan and that it just wasn't supposed to be for me at that time. This is what we learn in recovery as we work the steps. It is God's will for me (us) and acceptance is the key. Truly, this was not a life-changing disappointment but truth be told, had I been in my disease this would have been an absolutely perfect reason to drink. Poor me! I am sure each one of you has had a similar experience meaning you were disappointed or even upset about something. I believe that you probably reacted exactly as I did and I want you to remember how you might have reacted if you were drinking. How we have changed! These are the changes we see in ourselves because we feel them.
A number of months later I decided to check the site and what do you know? Bella needed a 12 Step Recovery Editor. This time I was ready to go and didn't hesitate and here I am--five years and hundreds of articles later! What I wanted to share, though, is what I have learned because of the opportunity to write and how I encourage any and all of you to be of service. You, all of you, who have emailed me or shared my articles with others, have kept me sober. Bella provides a "counter" for me to see how many people read any article and although I do not know who you are, thank you for reading because you keep me sober, too.
Each week I have to think of something to write that would be of interest to all of you. Honestly, that is much more difficult than writing. I believe there are weeks where I swear my Higher Power is sitting next to me and my own words sometime seem not my own. There are other weeks when I get upset with myself for writing and publishing something even I believe is mediocre. Here is the best part, though. Writing forces me to think about my own recovery. I have written more than once about each of the Steps. The amazing thing is that each time I write about one of them, I see something I didn’t see before. I have read books and articles that I might ordinarily not have read and I have shared the Traditions and everything else about recovery I could possibly think of sharing. Much of what I write about are stories and shares I’ve heard at meetings.
Through all of this and because of all of this, I have been able to continue life in happiness, peace, relative serenity and sobriety. It sounds egotistical to say I am doing this for you but the reality is that I am doing it for all of us. I always hope that one article, one word, one experience, just might keep someone from a drink that day. There are some weeks (especially in the beginning) I wonder why I keep writing week in and week out. Are my words just hanging out there in cyberspace or are they being heard because someone needs to hear them? I realized it doesn’t really matter. Service isn’t about getting anything in return (except sobriety) and that has been one of my biggest lessons.
My reason to write all of this is to encourage you to be of service. It is so very true that we must give away what we were so freely given. Write your own story and send it to a favorite recovery site. Send it to me. I would love to publish someone else’s life. There is more to service than making coffee and setting up a meeting. I am not diminishing that at all but there are numerous other ways to be of service that I believe will give you a new perspective on life. I hope that I am not “preaching”. I am one of the fortunate ones and because God has given me such a wonderful opportunity to “speak” to all of you, I want to pass the message.
Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.
Like Grateful Recovery on Facebook. Kathy L. is the author of “The Intervention Book: Stories and Solutions from Addicts, Professionals, and Families” (Conari Press)