Saturday, October 22, 2011

Miracles in recovery

I am here today because I am a child of an alcoholic.  No, that's not what I mean exactly.  By here I don't mean in this very place.  Perhaps what I mean to say is that I am who I am because I am the child of an alcholic.

When I was five years old my father made what I am sure was the most monumental decision of his life.  I can say that with a measure of confidence because I have seen him maintain an unwavering commitment to his sobriety for the past 33 years.  When I was five years old, my father made the decision to stop drinking.  In order to do that he attended Alcoholics Anonymous and joined a group of salt of the earth people in their own journeys to end the reign alcohol had in their existence.

My dad was never a preachy guy.  He quietly tried to learn the doctrine of the Big Book by living it.  As far back as I can remember our house was an open door to other people young and old who endeavoured to live out the guiding principles and philosophies of AA.  These men and women had a profound collective impact on my life, as I reflect.  Perhaps the people that came and went just reinforced the philosphy that I saw my dad taking great efforts to absorb into his life like a healing salve.

I remember these people vividly.  A man with a colourful presence that referred to me as "hotdog" and my sister as "hamburg" as he called to talk to my dad on the phone that hung high on the kitchen wall.  An elderly man who rode his bike all around town and smelled of cigars who sat one afternoon and helped me edit my english assignment.  A man in university who congratulated me about my new townhome and talked about how I was starting out life with all the things my parents had- a home with three bedrooms, a front yard and a back yard etc.  He challenged my thinking and helped me to see my accomplishments. He talked about philosophy, astronomy and astrology expanding my world with possibilities. 

All of these people contributed to my development and coloured my memories. They guided and shaped my moral compas.  They, in living out their lives in sobriety taught me to accept, to challenge, to rise in the face of adversity.  When I look at how I have been able to live through so many challenges I can't help but stop and be thankful for the wealth of the example my father provided in chosing each day to reach inside himself, reach out to others and reach up to the heavens in thanks.

"There is no magic in recovery only miracles." AA Slogan 


Peace Be With You said...

I have always been in the "non" camp of 12-step programs, but like you I thank them for skills which have been invaluable in dealing with MS.


Kim said...

It was only in talking about my experience dealing with the horrors of MS that a friend told me that many of the coping skills I had could be correlated to AA philosophy.

As I said in this post my dad has always very quietly went about his way. Never were these things openly discussed.

I am curious to understand what has lead you to the "non" camp. Is it the "higher power" bit Judy?

Anonymous said...


I started a sober life on May 6, 1987. My MS was diagnosed in late 1983.

Trudging the road of happy destiny has done for me what I probably could never do; it helped me accept my alcoholism AND my MS. It has allowed me to see the positive things that MS has given me. It sounds as if your trudging that road has done some good things for you, too.


Kim said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comment Joe.

sandy said...

Dear Kim. What a quiet and powerful "real-life" story. Thank you.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou