Regular readers will know I am pretty committed to the anonymity piece when it comes to AA -- for all the reasons I've discussed here over time.
So when I started writing Mr. SponsorPants the name was not just an attempt to be maybe a little cute, and show I wasn't going to take myself too seriously, it was also a deliberate construct so that I could address AA very specifically but still retain my personal anonymity. And, as other people and events have entered my writing, I have purposely blurred specific details -- dates, places, even genders -- at the cost of some really clumsy sentence construction I fear -- so that there would be no way someone reading might be able to go, "Hmmm... I bet he's talking about so-and-so."
People in my life who know me and know I write this blog -- both in AA and not -- have sometimes observed that I'm a little over-the-top with some of that. And I have considered that while they're likely not far off (though you're always on pretty safe ground when you suggest I'm over the top on anything -- hardly need to be a psychic to make THAT call) I was comfortable doing what was right for me.
This morning, though -- all morning, in fact -- I've felt a little >ping< in the back of my mind that I was being disingenuous not sharing something on the blog today. It felt less than honest with my regular readers to not mark this occasion.
So while it bends, in only a tiny way I hope, my commitment to anonymity online by being quite so specific, I would like to share with gratitude, amazement and near disbelief that today -- this day -- marks 25 years of being clean and sober and honest about it.
March 1, 1988 is my sobriety date. (A friend last night at dinner wished me the cheery sentiment, "Many happy returns of the day!" While I knew what they meant I had to laugh and observe, "God, I hope not. I think I want to turn 25 years sober just once -- I know I can keep moving forward but I'm not sure I've got it in me to do it all over again.")
So I mark this day -- and share it's acknowledgement with whomever is reading -- with a feeling of profound gratitude, and maybe the right-sized amount of humility too. Because I assure you, there is no way I got here without the love and support and wisdom and charity and experience of so many people I know -- and let's face it, many people I've never met. That is the overwhelming beauty which, after a while in AA you begin to perceive. This whole vast, life-saving (life transforming) enterprise is built completely upon the foundation of one alcoholic helping another. That's all. That's all it took at the beginning -- from Ebby to Bill, and then from Bill to Bob -- and that's all it takes today -- among each of us in any given moment on any given day -- to create a tidal wave of healing and miracles.
To be working my own program in AA, and thus to be a part of helping someone else to work theirs, makes me -- makes all of us -- not just links in a chain; maybe the better image is loops in a net. A huge net which caught me in freefall 25 years ago, and continues to save me today.
Dear AA, all of you -- all of us -- thank you for my life. I make a shoddy job of it sometimes, and I am certainly prone to being more than a little sensitive when things don't go my way, but truly, deep down, there is not one single day where I don't know what a gift I've been given, and am grateful for it. Under the occasional tantrums and bouts of self pity there is always now a bright and beating connection to a Power Greater than Myself; and through that, all of you.
Today I am 25 years clean and sober. I know I owe it to the Grace of God and to every single loop in the net -- to every single one of you.