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Progress in Sobriety, Progress in Life.

21 November 2012

Progress is the fundamental goal of any sober person. Progress, not perfection. I know that I have no hope of ever being perfect. My goal is to make slow, steady progress, improving myself most days. The days when I slide backwards, I hope to curtail my descent. I’d like to feel like there is forward motion in my life. And these days there is. But as with any life, for every step forward, there are other steps back.

For example: I’ve been contacted now by HR at PECMC. They’re flying me out and putting me up in a hotel. My interviews are from 11-4 on November 28th, including an hour long lecture by me. This is excellent forward progress. My first contact with PECMC was on October 15th. So six weeks after making contact, I’ll be interviewing for what will hopefully be a serious offer of a position. I have found myself ready to leave St. Louis. Ready to move on and take on new challenges in my life. I’m very hopeful. I’ll give the best talk I can, and I have always interviewed well. This is forward progress. But this week has also seen steps back: I was rejected for interviews at West Virginia University, and the University of Waterloo. I had a paper rejected last night.

Progress in sobriety is often hard to measure for me right now. I go to two meetings a week, the great majority of the time. I am comfortable being a sober person. I don’t wish I could drink. I went through all the steps, one after another. In order, how they are in the book. That has relieved so much of my anxiety and misgiving about the world and how to live in it. These days, my progress in my own sobriety has been bolstered by my working with people new to the program, or people who are considering giving up their drugs and alcohol.

I have a new sponsee, for about a month now, who is doing pretty well. He just got a job. He needed a job. He’s been being supported by fiancée and parents for too long while he drinks and doesn’t contribute. But now, four months sober and beginning to actually work a program, he’s accepted a seasonal position doing low-wage work in retail. Part time, of course. But this is a step on the way. I’ve found that newly sober people who show up and don’t get drunk again tend to be promoted rapidly. Just being on time puts yourself a step ahead of the crowd.

Watching, and helping, people now to the program assists me in working my program. If I do end up moving, I’ll need to establish new meetings, maybe find a new sponsor of my own. I’ll go to lots of meetings for the first few months I’m there, until I find meetings that work for me. A men’s meeting. A mixed meeting. Wednesday. Sunday. Probably. Those work for me here.

Standing still in life isn’t really an option for the alcoholic. If we fail to make progress, we almost certainly regress. But I’m pleased with how my life is going at the moment. I’m sad I didn’t get offered interviews at WVU or UW. But I’m moving forward. In life. In sobriety.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 21 November 2012 09:26

    Have you blogged about the different values of the men’s meeting versus mixed-sex meeting before? I’m not familiar with the ideas on that…..

  2. 21 November 2012 09:29

    Not specifically. It’s a good topic. I’m happy to write about it.

  3. Leslie permalink
    21 November 2012 11:01

    Question for you, as this is something I’m struggling with: Have you ever felt fear when moving forward, and, if so, how did you get past it? Thanks!

    • 21 November 2012 11:05

      CONSTANTLY. I am afraid right now. I get past it by recognizing that I’ve been afraid of all my major obstacles and accomplishments. And I have survived them all. I’m afraid to fly. But I get on airplanes. Because they take me where I want to go.

      • 25 November 2012 06:48

        Thank you. I’m especially going to remember your last two sentences.

        The afternoon of the day I commented, I made a graveside amends to my parents. My father and I had been estranged for years before he died in 2003, and I was still holding onto some resentments. Once I made the amends for my part, the relief I felt (and still feel) was overwhelming. Now I’m moving forward without holding onto those grudges, and it’s strange because those have always been in the back of my mind, and now I am free of them. It’s almost as if I’m having an good identity crisis – I feel like a different person – except for the fear. There is excitement, too, don’t get me wrong – but everything feels brand new, and, hence, scary!

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