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Changed DaysAudio Version Part 1
Sunday evening, sitting in the kitchen, I caught a glance of some home baking me and my kids had spent the afternoon making. Then a thought about the day we'd had and about one of the cakes jumped out at me. At first glance, of course it's simply a cupcake. But what if it might be something else? Something much more important?
Sunday, for as long as I can remember, has always been a particular day of reflection for me. I've always seen it as the end of the traditional week, but now, having been sober nearly 15 months, I view this day in a far more positive way than before. My drinking, my unpredictability and my unreliability ended up leaving me with access to my children only on a Saturday night through to Sunday lunchtime and usually only if my mum was with me to supervise.
Sunday nights were horrific during my drinking days.
With the kids back with their mum I'd be sat on my own in an empty three bedroom house that had once been mine and my kids' family home. Even though I was sitting in a fully furnished home, I would sit on a cushion in the corner of a dark room with only my phone, my cider and sad songs on Youtube for company. Resentments, guilt and fear were all there whilst I was looking at Facebook and seeing how wonderful and happy other families were; how normal people were coping with normal things. I f***ing hated Sundays!
But back to the cupcake. What if I told you that something came to me out of the blue tonight, something that made it so much more than just a daft wee cake. This might sound absolutely bonkers and I'm fine with that. God knows people who knew me during my drinking and performing days would and quite often did label me that but this is a different kind of bonkers.
What if I told you it was evidence, to me at least, of The Promises and of AA in action?
1. 'We will be amazed before we are halfway through'.
I'm currently going through Step Four. Therefore, before even 'halfway through' I'm already amazed at the number of things which have happened throughout my sober journey but I'm especially amazed at the relationship I am now able to have with my beautiful kids because I can be a reliable, honest, loving and caring daddy to them.
2. 'We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness'.
Despite having some down days, some pretty horrible depressing episodes which come and go, I can honestly say that this is the happiest I can ever recall being. I don't have material things, very little by way of possessions or money in the bank but I do have the love of my children, my family, my partner and my friends in AA. I am free of the need to take alcohol to cope with life. That is a new freedom. How amazing.
3. 'We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it'.
I try not to look on my previous misgivings as regrets but rather experiences which I can learn from. But in good old Glasgow vernacular I will NEVER forget my old arse! Before, I didn't have time to spend doing things like home baking with the kids. I was either too drunk to be allowed to have them or I was sober when I had them but yearning a drink or planning the next one. Things like spending an hour in the kitchen doing stuff like that would have been alien to the old me.
4. 'We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace'.
I can be at peace because I no longer do the things that shut me off from it. I can give my children peace also, by giving them my love and my time.
5. 'No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others'.
I was left homeless, penniless, alone and afraid because of alcohol. I had reached my gutter. Yet today I can be my children's hero. I hope I can also be an example to people within the Fellowship that you CAN start to recover from a seemingly hopeless state of body and mind. I hope in some way by sharing even just this daft analogy about a cake and my life, that I can benefit even just one person.
6. 'That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear'.
7. 'We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows'.
8. 'Self-seeking will slip away'.
9. 'Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change'.
I feel less insecure than I did when I finally accepted I was alcoholic and that my life was unmanageable. I know that I can be an effective contributor, not just to my family's lives, to my fellows, but to my own life. I can do this by being of service to other people, by giving my time and my experience to others, without playing the old 'what's in it for me' card. My outlook and attitude on life has changed. I chased money, praise, recognition, material possessions and to an extent I got them but I was about as spiritually sick as you could ever get. Now I have little, just like the wee pink cake which is only flour, eggs and some sugar, yet I have everything. Now I'm able to love and be loved by those who mean the world to me.
10. 'Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us'.
Before, I wouldn't have dreamed of doing something so simple as shopping for ingredients. I just didn't do it before. I got what I had to get in the quickest time possible and got out and back to my wet place again. God help me if I ever bumped into someone who knew me, what would I say? Would they talk ill of me to their friends? Worse still tell my family or my friends that they'd seen me drunk or hungover?
Today we shopped. We picked the stuff together: the wee cake cases; free range eggs (my daughter insisted) and the food colouring. We did it off my wee girl's handwritten list and spent 20 minutes going back and forward round the supermarket. At the checkout I didn't count how much money I had in cider currency. Each pound used to equate to one can and that's how I used to count what money I had and how far it would stretch. My fear of people and economic insecurity is leaving me.
11. 'We will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us'.
After shopping at a leisurely pace; travelling on the bus home from the shops; not counting the money left in my wallet in Strongbow currency; spending an hour in the kitchen baking; playing frisbee in the garden with my wee boy while the cooker was doing its thing, I was able to put the kids to bed with a smile on their faces knowing they'd have a wee something that they themselves had made going into their pack lunch for school the next day. These were all situations that used to baffle me. Today they were all happening naturally and without any real thought. Intuitively.
12. 'We will suddenly realise that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves'.
And that was my eureka moment while looking at the cake earlier. Before, I was useless and without direction. Now, something is helping me be the best version of me that I can be. I'd like to think that it is my God doing stuff for me that I previously couldn't do on my own.
So yeah, as I've found with a lot of things throughout my journey in AA it was just a wee cake. Just a wee tiny thing – something very simple and basic but it was also everything. It's absolutely everything about what is happening for me, when I work for things. The Promises will come alive if I work for them. I try my best to work for them and I hope they work for you all too.
Thanks for taking the time to read.
Castlemilk Tuesday Afternoon, Glasgow