Saturday, June 16, 2007

Long Year (Todd Snider)

J's death (indirectly caused by long-term issues of excess and neglect) has me re-examining the history of alcoholism in my family - my father "inherited" it from his father and, for years, I worried it would trickle down to me. In January 2003 I made the conscious decision to quit drinking - I didn't set a time frame, but figured I'd just take it, to use the AA vernacular, one day at a time. I kept expecting it to be more of a sacrifice, but it wasn't - I found I was still fun to be around, and could continue to have a good time, without artificial stimulants. When a year had gone by, I realized I was in no danger of addiction and began drinking again - you can't imagine what a relief it was to know I had power and control over the substance.

[ From The Writer's Almanac: June 10 was the anniversary of the establishment of Alcoholics Anonymous (1935), in Akron, Ohio. It was founded by a stockbroker named Bill Wilson and a surgeon, Bob Smith, who found that the best way to keep from drinking was to spend time with other people who were trying to keep from drinking. Between the two of them, they developed the main traditions of AA: anonymity, confession and mutual support. Alcoholics Anonymous grew rapidly in the '40s and '50s, but Bill Wilson refused to appear on the cover of Time and wouldn't accept an honorary degree from Yale because he believed in anonymity... and he stuck with it to the end. ]

P.S. We just heard from J's partner, A - there is to be a memorial celebration at 6:00 p.m. this evening... a bit last-minute, but I intend to be there...

SONG: Long Year by Todd Snider

BOOK: First Year Sobriety: When All That Changes Is Everything by Guy Kettelhack

POEM: Gray's First Sober Year by William Notter

This new life is better
than a dozen beer-joint romances
or a hundred drunks at fishing camp.
My habit now is not drinking,
and waking up where I belong.
I can see colors again,
and I don't feel like a turd in the punchbowl
whenever I go around people.

I'll mow the weeds for Sharon
and almost enjoy it. She's even given up
checking my breath whenever I come home.
I went shopping for our anniversary
and wound up crying in the store,
but not the kind of tears you cry
when your wife catches you lying in the shed
with your pistol jabbed up in your mouth
and vodka running out your nose.

The only thing she could think to do
was check me into another detox,
and this time it finally took.
This year has made me different—
vodka could never do that for long.
Some days when I wake up early
and listen to Sharon lying there breathing,
it feels like somebody snuck in while we slept
and changed our sheets.

QUOTE: "I love to drink a martini, two at the very most, three I'm under the table, four I'm under the host." ~ Dorothy Parker

1 comment:

    It is important to note that Bill Wilson's faith system was not based on Jesus Christ and Him crucified; nor is there any mention of Jesus Christ being the Savior from his sin. Both he and Bob Smith (co-founder of AA) embraced and promoted a variety of spiritual experiences, which included practicing spiritualism and conversing with the dead (which the Bible forbids) and being heavily involved in séances. Wilson also acted as a medium or channeler. It was while involved in these types of religious experiences, not Biblical Christianity, that Wilson developed his Twelve Steps (Pass It On, pp 156, 198, 275, 278).