Thirteen years ago, April 20, 2007, I went to a special place for me, a wildlife area on the edge of town. I go there annually, much like the waterfowl migrating there each spring. On April 20, 2007, I didn’t go there to watch birds. I went there to drink. At 10:30 am, I drank a pint of vodka while sitting in my car there because I couldn’t imagine not drinking that pint from the bottle to escape my fear and shame.
It’s important for me to say here to you, that on April 19, 2007, I wrote the second suicide note that I’ve written in my life. The other was also at the bottom of an abyss full of fear, anxiety, regret, guilt, shame and dependence on alcohol. I honor April 20 and I celebrate April 21, the first day I went to bed sober with the help of 12 step groups, remarkable friends and family, dogs and cats, guitars, mandolins, banjos, cigar box guitars, Appalachian dulcimers, 4,748 days of gratitude and 4,725 poems later – I do bow – oh and quite a few pieces of pie were involved, but that’s another story.
What remains powerful for me now is that I did not know, nor even intend for that pint of vodka to be my last drink of alcohol. I oft marvel that I’m here, that I’m here sober today. I will not diminish, nor downplay, how incredibly difficult, how hard that I worked to get sober and to remain sober since. It was hard. I’m grateful that desperation became willingness. Though I own how hard I worked, I hope that I’ve done and continue to do so humbly.
For me, the power of sharing anniversaries with others in AA, is that it truly celebrates we. I know that that sense of ‘… we doing together what I could not on my own…’, (this is from our Madison-area closing) is powerful for me today when I celebrate my anniversary and when I celebrate with others, regardless of whether it is days, weeks, months, years. I entered the rooms of AA as a last resort, a desperate person, desperately hoping to save a marriage (we are still married in case you wonder), I keep ‘coming back’ because I’m still here and I can remember my last drink of alcohol day.
My Last Drink of Alcohol Day
I remember the day I do
My last drink of alcohol day
The day I that I gave up
But refused to give in
Holding on to the liquid hope
That I had sought for days
For days seeming without end
Losing the battle of just one more again
Another bottle empty another day lost
Promises made that I knew I wouldn’t keep
Compelled by want became driven by need
I remember the day for sometimes it feels so very near
And sometimes it feels so very very far away
About the Author
Robert B. is a sober alcoholic in Madison, WI participating in AA and AlAnon at Fitchburg Serenity Club. He has been sober since April 21, 2007. He also began writing and sharing poetry on Facebook during his first year sober as part of his recovery from alcohol dependency, acute anxiety and chronic depression. He has found that creativity expressed primarily through writing poetry and playing various stringed instruments helped him heal and thrive.