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Tuesday, First Things First …

tumblr_mej2v9HEkh1rsritzo1_500 shinybrat - jonathan by petetaylor on flickr

Courtesy: Jonathan by Pete Taylor on Flickr

The week has begun. And mother nature is making up for so much cold and snow with gorgeous days filled with sunshine and warmth. Rain is in the forecast, the trees and green spaces are greening up very nicely. But we also need to be watered.

As is usual, I was up and ready to go early this evening. With it being so nice outside, getting to the meeting early payed. We spent the time before the meeting sitting outside the church talking – the meeting before the meeting.

The room was full. We sat almost every chair. And we read from Living Sober, and First things First. It is good that newcomers come to this meeting, and we get to hear how they parse and put to use the slogans and passages from the book in their lives, as they get sober. Oh the pains of early sobriety !!! Everything is upside down and things are crazy and life hasn’t fallen into shape just yet, so the struggle continues for them.

it is also good the people with considerable time are interspersed between the newbies, and we all listen, because it is the newcomer that keeps us with time around.

One of our men quoted H.A.L.T … Hungry Angry Lonely and Tired

Another spoke of what he learned in his first ten years, in hindsight, and what changed in the second decade of his sobriety. And why he still goes to meetings as often as he does. So that he never picks up that first drink.

It is funny what stories come to mind for me when I go to a meeting. And they seem apropos to the topic at hand.

Getting down and dirty I spoke. The first time I got sober, it was medically necessary. I was diagnosed with terminal illness and I was given my end date. I got and stayed sober. I did everything I was told to do, in a first thing first method. And I never strayed very far from those directions, and they saved my life.

Yes, I counted to days until I was supposed to die, and however hard my sponsor, then, chided me, I did it anyways.

When I got to my death date, I was still alive. And With that I had to figure out what I was going to do next. That led me to four years of sobriety. But slogans and pointers became less and less used. And I began to fade from the program and my sobriety lost its priority. S.L.I.P.

I took my good health for granted and made that fateful decision to upgrade my alcoholism to drug addiction. Surely that step up should have, in no uncertain terms, knock time off my timeline.

I was fully shot by the time I took my last drink the second time. Kicking the drugs was easy, because I put distance between me and them and never looked back. But the drink took longer to stop, because I was wrapped up in “ME.”

But I eventually put down the drink, and got sober the second time. Still alive and having a life was something that I was trying to save, once again. Coming here I found a place, a meeting and a doctor.

The geographic was the best decision I had ever made. Because I have achieved things I never thought would be possible. Sobriety paid off because I was given certain direction. And I obeyed that direction. I built my life around my meetings, I listened to the slogans and read the books from cover to cover.

And to this day, we are still reading to same books, cover to cover in some instances. And a reading here and there. All those things I heard in early sobriety are still being said almost twelve years later.

First things First …

I need quiet time in the morning. I need to say my prayers. I need to order my day, and get to a meeting. I need to take my pills and I need to eat. And when I am tired I need to sleep.

The thought that God could pull the rug out from under me still remains visible in my rear view mirror. I’ve been on a good run for a long time. And if I forget or ignore first things first, I am doomed.

There is order in my day today.

Most of my friends are sober, so, if I want to see them, I need to carry myself to a meeting. I need to arrive twenty minutes early and stay twenty minutes late.

I need to stay out of my head. I need to talk to my sponsor regularly. I need to work with newcomers. I need to give back.

…But obviously, you cannot transmit something you haven’t got …

Which is why we go to meetings, and we read the books and we share. Where else are you going to learn what it is to give and what to give, if you don’t stick around and learn?

Thank God for newcomers. It all seems easier, now that I am here, and not there. However I don’t begrudge them their struggles. If it was so easy peasy, we wouldn’t work so hard getting sober.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned…

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