Twenty years ago today, i made a decision to give up drinking. It was my second time to do so ... a relapse of a two year period where I had convinced myself i could handle the occasional drink and be a social drinker like some people i saw at restaurants who could leave a glass of wine half finished! Who in their right mind would leave a drink unfinished??!! Hmmm ... could be why i'm a recovering alcoholic?? :)
In September of 1988 I welcomed into my life a tiny, 6 week old black cocker spaniel whom I named Splat (after a racquetball shot ... i was playing competitive racquetball at that time). She was the runt of the litter and when she crawled into my lap, curled up and went to sleep, i just knew she was meant to be with me. What I didn't know was that she was going to help me heal on more levels than I could imagine. What I didn't know was that she was going to lead me down a path of healing - giving me the strength, courage and reason to get my life together. On October 1st, 1988 I walked back into an AA meeting, acknowledged I was an alcoholic and pledged to take care of my sweet, helpless little Splat.
For a long time it was a struggle. For a long time i was filled with shame and with a sense of "i'm weak." Years later, I came to the realization that I was grateful to be a recovering alcoholic, and grateful to have the courage and strength to look into the eyes of the lion i had been running from. Today I am friends with that lion, and as I venture into new and unexplored territories, I am filled with gratitude because I can feel everything (joy and sadness, hope and heartbreak), and i no longer have to hide behind the bottle and numb the pain.
As I look out into the horizon today, I see mountains - i see peaks and i see valleys. Life is a journey. Life is an adventure. And today, as I celebrate 20 years of sobriety, I feel ready to embark on the next leg of my journey. And I am ready to immerse myself in life and in loving.
Today, I have an appointment with a surgeon for an evaluation and to schedule a biopsy -- the cloud of cancer looming over the mountains. For whatever reason, I am okay with whatever the outcome is and where my journey takes me, and where my journey ends. Because today, I am surrounded by so much joy, so much love, so much beauty, and so much support.
Peace for me has come from a place of gratitude.