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Faith and Hope
You may remember my last Roundabout submission back in January when much of my life was still on a shaky peg because I was not taking my sobriety seriously. I was saying the words but not walking the walk!
Well, I have now been sober since 18 October 2015 and doing the best I can to work on my sobriety every minute of every day. I was able to achieve 90 meetings in 90 days but I do not see that as a badge of honour but more an indication of how sick I was. I specifically see my sponsor once a week though and also see him at other meetings each week but what is also important for me is that I am taking up many of the activities I used to do when I was younger. My wife is happy that I am finishing many of the neglected jobs in and around our home. She is the primary reason for this submission.
In the Big Book, in the story ‘Doctor Bob’s Nightmare’ it says ‘For some reason, we alcoholics seem to have the gift of picking out the world’s ﬁnest women.’ (p.178) He was and is 100% correct. Over the years my wife tolerated many things, nearly all of which were beyond the boundaries of reason but she did that mostly stoically!
When I was sober only a short time I was sharing at a meeting and I was talking about how frosty it still was at home. A wise old alcoholic kindly chastised me, reminding me that I had spent the best part of 20 years systematically tearing down what started out as a loving relationship, and here I was complaining that everything was not normal after a scant two months. I knew he was right.
Though I have now been sober nearly nine months, my wife still talks about when I take the drink, not if I take a drink and you know what? Though it has been very hard I have learned to accept her point of view in the same way I had to accept I am an alcoholic. I may not like it but as far as she is concerned it is a simple fact. I’ve done it before so I’ll do it again.
I have also learned that over the years my wife’s outlook on me and our relationship has changed. At the beginning she was full of faith and hope for our life and future together but with time and my continued antics her outlook changed and her level of faith diminished pretty much in line with my mental and physical decline. For a very long time though hope remained but once she had run out of faith, it was inevitable that hope would follow suit. ‘One more attempt, one more failure’!
So, as I write today I believe that each day that I remain sober I put a little back into my wife’s hope that I will remain sober and be as good a husband and father as I can. Will that hope ever rebound back to where it was 25 years ago? No, not likely. Will my wife every have faith in me? Well perhaps a little but nowhere near any amount that might put her or our children in any perceived or actual risk should I pick up a drink.
Departing my make-believe world has been very difficult for me. Knowing that I need never enter that world again is still daunting on occasion but I use meetings, other alcoholics and regular sharing as well as all the other things that are suggested to remind me of what I was like. I have on occasion said the following in a meeting “I can do nothing about the past but learn from it. I can do nothing about the present other than live it honestly and I can do nothing about the future other than be ready for it”. That’s what AA gives me; the tools to recognise and accept who I am, the understanding to live honestly and the wherewithal to be ready for whatever comes to test me.
I am cautiously looking forward to my first birthday. I remain optimistic but vigilant and I draw on the strength, wisdom and understanding of my AA family to help me be a good person, husband and father and to help guide me to long-term sobriety.
Yours in Fellowship