Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Congratulations to my Higher Power

I celebrate 22 years of recovery today. It's really through no power of mine. In my early recovery when anyone celebrated a birthday, the "old timer" of Phoenix NA., Red, would say "Congratulations to your Higher Power." It took me a few years in the rooms, but today I truly get what he meant. (He's gone to that big meeting in the sky.) It is simply additional grace that God bestowed on me, the grace to walk through 22 years of life on life's sometimes very catastrophic terms and stay clean.

I've lived in quite a few places and in each one, they celebrate birthdays a little differently. In LA, for example, they call it "taking a cake." Your sponsor or a close friend shows up not only at your home group but sometimes at any regular meeting you attend and presents you with a cake. Most Angelenos take a cake for any meeting they attend the entire week. It's pretty cool, although sometimes by the end of the week we would look at each other and roll our eyes and mouth "Again?" when we watched members take their third or fourth, or fifth, or sixth, cake.

Here on the last Wednesday of the month, my home group celebrates all the monthly birthdays. I like that, but I've never been in Missouri the last week in December to celebrate that night, so I've always had to wait until January, which kind of defeats the purpose. This year is the first year I'll be here for the end-of-month celebration.

Today one of my sponslings and a few other women important in my recovery are taking me out to lunch to celebrate, then there's a group celebration at the women's meeting I attend next Saturday. So for this week, it's all about me! ("Not that it isn't most of the time anyway," I can hear my s/o thinking.)

Phoenix is my favorite place to take a cake. At your home group one of your friends or your sponsor brings a cake, you are the only speaker and the whole meeting is devoted to my favorite topic, me! (My home group for years was Hip, Slick & Kool at the Arid Club in Phoenix, until it burned down last year and the caretaker, Ake, died in the fire.) Word is spread and all the people who knew me when I got clean show up, plus others who came after and who love me. It's always a blast.

I was taught early on that we don't take our chips and our cakes for ourselves; we take them so the newcomers or those struggling know that it works. I always keep that in mind when I celebrate. Hope, that light I saw in other people's eyes when I first came into the room, that's what kept me coming back. I was so far gone, but the joy and light I saw in others' eyes when I got here made me begin to believe maybe I, too, wasn't hopeless. Watching people pick up chips, even 90 days ones, to me was a huge deal in the early days.

I'm having dinner tonight with my s/o, who spoils me rotten. All in all, I thank God for another day clean and sober and for this birthday. In reality, I am doubly lucky to be alive to celebrate it.

Inevitably as we celebrate more years, a newcomer will come up, awestruck, when we celebrate, and ask "How'd you do it?" I always say "One day at a time!"

So until tomorrow, take it one day at a time.


Anonymous said...

Nice share....and Happy Birthday!
Spoiled does mean rotten, which means no good. That is obviously not you. I think you meant "over loved". We should all be so blessed. Bithdays are a good time to reflect on the good in ourselves and not the bad. Its your day. Be good to yourself.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday. My sponser also taught me to put a dollar in the basket for every year clean on ones birthday. I guess back then they were really broke but for me it is part of the NA ritual I follow. I Do know that you have saved my butt more oftern than you know and I'm so glad you keep coming back and sharing your b-day.

SCoUt said...

Happy 22 years, my 2-dog! I am happy for you that you get to celebrate properly this year. You have a hell of a story to share with newcomers and all who listen to you during your hour :)
It's so weird that G-d brought me to you through this blogging deal, and, in you, I have found a real sister; a soul that knows my soul.
You have given me so very much and I am truly grateful for you.
Peace and love and celebrations,

Sober Chick said...

Happy 22!!! Wow, what an amazing journey. Your journey is like a flower that has been (and still is) being nurtured and love -- the result is beautiful, and the process of blooming even more spectacular!

Meg Moran said...

the tears started as soon as I began to read your post today...sometimes gratitude overwhelms me. Congratulations to ALL of our Higher Powers. How we got so damn lucky is one of those eternal mysteries that we may never solve...but I think perhaps it is simply that we were chosen to carry the message...and you do it so well. Much love my sweet sister.


Congratulations! 22 years! You rock!

dAAve said...

Congrats and Happy Birthday.
Ain't it grande to be able to get older?!

Scott W said...

Superb! Congratulations! I love cake.

Gwen said...

Congrats to you TwoDogzzzz!!!!

Pam said...

Thank you for showing your gratitude and inspiring the rest of us...and happy birthday

Pam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carly said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Thanks for leading the way.