Hi, I’m James Q. I got sober on January 15, 1982. When I get time I’ll tell my whole story here, but for now, here’s a little info.
I was about 13 or 14 when I started drinking. Shortly after I started smoking pot. Then came everything else that could get me high. The feeling number outers. My dad was an alcoholic addict, as were my older brother and one of my older step-sisters. Jack Daniels and beer were my regular friends, and I had lots of drinking, drugging adventures (jails, mental hospital, foster home, boarding school, etc.).
I was a pathological runaway and liar. Slept in abandoned houses, alleys, bus stops, unlocked cars and other seedy places. Blacked out and woke up in weird places with weird people doing weird things. Even woke up in my vomit once and almost suffocated. That was stinky. By 20 I was a wake and baker (those of you with that habit know what I’m talking about). Did I mention I was a dealer and thief too, I was.
In January of 1982 I got sober but didn’t really enter the rooms of AA for 7 years until my brother overdosed on heroin. He lived, and it was a visit to his hospital that brought me into AA. White knuckling it for 7 years left me hollow and miserable, a phony and fake, with no fellowship or support system. A dry drunk, with nothing to help me numb out my feelings of despair.
My whole world had been built on a faulty foundation, it was time to tear it down and start a new foundation with the help of AA. This started in 1989. I got a sponsor, worked the steps, got sponsees, went to meetings and, and many other good AA’s do, I became a two-stepper (I’m powerless, screw the rest of the steps, let me help others). As such, after being sober for 15 years, I still found myself struggling to make my relationship work with my wife. You see, sobriety and AA wasn’t enough to make me into the loving husband my wife wanted to share her life with.
In 1997 I claimed my seat in Al-Anon -thank God, because I would need it when, in just a few short years, my wife got sick of me and filed for divorce. Working the Al-Anon program with my now recovered brother, while on a surfing trip in Ixtapa, Mexico, allowed me to find my part, make amends to my wife, and ask for a second chance, whereby I asked for her help in trying to learn about intimacy (my brother calls it “Into Me You See”). Al-Anon literally saved my marriage that time.
So things started to get better, but I still was desperately searching for emotional and spiritual sobriety. In 2002 my wife and I had an argument. During the argument she told me that perhaps I should work a program. I told her “I am 20 years sober, what are you talking about”. She laughed and said “Okay Mr. 20 Years Sober Man, tell me what your program is?”. To that I stuttered, “My program. My program. My program is… I don’t have to tell you my program. You’re taking my inventory!”. She simply said “I thought so”.
That was the turning point for me. I was determined to get a program so she could never say that to me again. That also was the point at which I began to find emotional and spiritual sobriety. Today I love my life. I yell out “I LOVE ME LIFE” every morning after I get off my knees in prayer. I love it because I work it almost every day of my life (I’m sure not perfect and do miss a few). I have this spiritual backpack that I take to Starbucks every morning. I take out my journal and all my books and go through them. I try to send out spiritual spam every day to everyone who has asked to receive it. It’s a quote from something I read that inspired me that day.
I take the action. I clean house in my journal and trust God. As a result I have the greatest life I could ever imagine. So guess what? I’m going to keep working this program. Growing it and growing me, one day at a time. Thanks for reading my story and I’m grateful to be on this road of recovery with so many wonderful people!