Here it is a few days out from Thanksgiving, sitting around and reading the news and stories with my morning coffee. Gratitude is a funny camper at times and as much as I went over in my mind of what I am thankful for, I must have missed a few rooms off of the heart.

I, like many I have spoken with, have a certain underlying thoughts run wild; Do I even have a program? Am I doing this or just treading water better than ever? Those answers are only for the individual, and as this individual contemplates those things, the small miracles and gratitude steps in, comforting. This morning in all of the news and stories was one that caught my eye again. Someone I know has done well in their recovery, done better than many others in getting those people off of the streets here. In an area that has just raised the Opioid epidemic to the level of Natural Disaster, that is nothing short of miraculous and amazing.

Now I hardly see the guy who started this off so many years ago. In recovery we have our cliques too, but we do stay in touch enough to know when someone is in need. I was thinking about the first time I met him, it was when he was in a treatment program that I had finished just months earlier. I was an example, I was what happened when all of these suggestions are put to use. This man did take us aside and thank us afterward, I believe we were there twice while he was. It was what I was supposed to do, the next indicated thing, but it was a start. As the years pile up and you find yourself at the junction of what the hell do I do now? and this is hard work, the tides bring growth and sometimes setbacks. That grasping and manipulative mannerism, that tornado that you had become doesn’t work with an honest lifestyle. The conning and lying just don’t work when you have to tell the truth that you need whatever it is just to live. Realizing that you never learned that lesson in your wildness, never learned how that was done.

Sharing my story, that is how I stay sober. Expressing the very last feeling I had in the tank to get it out so that it doesn’t consume me. It, this, is what I do to keep the troubles at bay, to clarify my thoughts and to look upon where I went sideways in my lazy thinking. I am under the guise that I have a program, that I do what is expected of me. That when something is troubling me it is me who has an issue, not others, not things. That feeling of a compass going off point is a marker to wake up my lazy thinking and not do something, or do something differently. So the program works for me, it has instilled a series of checks and balances into an anarchy of my own making.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to speak to many people about this part of me. More recently as I started taking classes at the local Community College, my story came out pretty quickly when people wanted to know me, instructors and teachers etc… So when that first week ended and one of my classmates pulled me to the side, I wasn’t thinking very much about recovery, but there I go thinking again. He pulled me aside and in a very scared and shaking voice told me he had a year and half off of Heroin, bam! The idiot that I was congratulated him and gave him a hug, bam again! He had done it cold turkey and had never been to any meeting, gotten much help at all in fact. With an embarrassingly suck it up look, I started talking to him about life, and the program of recovery that I had used. Gratitude is a funny camper, as we entered the classroom following his share with me, we sat down next to another new friend. Now the kind of shots I have these days are called God shots, a drunk with happiness and intent when those happen. That new friend was a woman about the same age as my confessor, she readily revealed that she had eighteen months clean as well, through the very same program that I was involved in. I cried later that day when I thanked God for the assist.

I have a friend, whom I have never met that lives in Massachusetts who gives me some credit for his recovery. He said I gave him the impetus to go and find out what it was about. I talk to another friend in Sri Lanka about the dangers of overthinking and the problems that alcohol has had in our lives. I also have a kindred soul in Ireland and these are just a few of the ways I very greedily keep myself sober. I take no credit for anything in their recovery or the greatness they achieve. I simply and selfishly take joy in their persons, their life, their light.

I don’t always know why I do all the things I do. I often question what the hell am I doing here on this planet? I wonder and worry about everything from the state of the person to the state of the Union. I spread the news that there is another way of life for those who have not found the road yet. I bring them to the road when they are lost and I can assist them. Maybe a hand up for hundreds, or just a simple hug for a single life. I do the same for them all when I say that the first step begins with an understanding and, start here.

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