Yesterday was a pretty special day for me. It marked 1,000 sober days. That’s right, folks. Goodbye triple digits, hello quadruples.
A month or so ago, my mom asked if I’d go to a meeting to get my 1,000 Day chip. I had to break it to her that AA doesn’t do 1,000 Day chips. “Only years from here on out,” I told her.
Of course, that was unacceptable for my mother, and yesterday, I opened a card from her that revealed this little treasure – 1,000 days and 1,000 nights.
“The days are great, but the nights are the most important part,” my mom joked when I called to celebrate with her. She is not wrong. Those long, torturous sober nights… especially in the beginning, when each felt like 10,000 days alone.
It has gotten easier, to be sure. Sobriety has its own kind of high that keeps you going. But it did get me thinking about how I got here. To string together this kiloversary, my recovery journey included:
- 3 Kaiser Out-Patient programs (in Orange County & San Jose)
- 1 Hospital Stay
- 2 In-Patient Rehabs (6 months apart) for over 73 days.
- 100s of AA Meetings
- 3 Sponsors & AA Step-Work
- 1 Year in Sober Living
- Therapy always
- 3 “Get Well” Jobs (which were actually really awesome, but decidedly a departure from my nonprofit career)
This all started almost 5 years ago. 5 years to get 1,000 days.
I wish I had been brave enough to document my sobriety efforts during the bad and the ugly. But I wasn’t. I love sharing the good, because there truly IS so much good. But it was really terrible for a really long time. I never want to make this look easy – cuz if you’re in the throws of it, the last thing you want to see is someone skipping through the forest with 14 dogs singing the praises of Topo Chico. (I LOVE YOU FOREVER TOPO CHICO)
So, I want to affirm anyone who is thinking about getting, trying to be, or is currently sober – this sh*t is hard. It will consist of moments of actual suffering. And there will be shame… oh the shame! You will want to drown in it. And it will probably be super messy. There might be relapses. There will be disappointment (yours and others). And misunderstandings (yours and others). You will feel pain.
How do you make it through? My suggestion – find others who have done and are doing it. Ask them to share their story, and then tell them yours. Start investigating how acceptance can lead to an inner-peace you probably haven’t felt since that first drink. Don’t be afraid of labels. And do what it takes – even if it includes sleeping in a twin bed & sharing a 10×10 room with another woman at the age of 37 for 365 of those 1,000 days.
Do this, and then come to Bend so we can frolic in a field with pups and cheers with the sparkliest of sparkly waters that ever did pass through your lips. I love you.
1,000 Days (AND NIGHTS!). Let’s do it again.
P.S. Steve, I love you most.