Thursday, February 08, 2007

"A Shout Out to the HNT Crowd"

A couple weeks ago I celebrated my second AA birthday at a big Saturday night speaker meeting. The meeting is recorded and my plan was to get a CD and post my share here, so you all could have the benefit not only of my wise and inspiring words, but my resonant baritone, as well. I missed the next week's meeting and didn't get the CD, so, like almost all my plans the past two years, this one didn't pan out, either. I trust that, as with all my other foiled plans, it will work out just fine to type it. :)

It was a great birthday, by the way. A lot of my friends came to support me -- even my pastor showed up! My son was there, and so was my Qualifier -- er, estranged wife.

Here's roughly what I shared:

Phil, alcoholic. I'm grateful to be here tonight, grateful to be sober two years! (pause for wild cheering and applause)

You know, when the good oldtimers wrote in the Big Book that the alcoholic has a "spiritual malady," they were talking about me. Because I have a birth defect. I was born with a God-shaped hole in my soul.

Until I came to these rooms, it never occurred to me I might have this problem. Oh, I knew I had problems. I was besieged by problems. It seemed I was always out of work. My marriages kept collapsing. I was always buried in debt. Everything and everybody were my problems. Everything except alcohol -- everybody except me.

Today, my life is a lot simpler, and my problems look a lot smaller. Thanks to you guys and a few simple suggestions you gave me. The same simple suggestions the good oldtimers handed down to all of us. (gesture meaningfully at 12 steps poster)

You showed me a way to have a better life -- a good life -- a life I want to have.

You showed me a way to finally let go of my futile, endless attempt to fill up my hollow soul with beer.

You showed me a way to let God into my life -- a power outside of my own will, bigger than me, who loves me and meets me wherever I am -- a God who nourishes and enriches my spirit extravagantly.

Thank you for these gifts -- thank you so much!

Thanks especially to my brothers at Progress House -- you guys are awesome. My brothers and sisters at my Friday night group -- you're the lifeblood of my recovery. A shout out to the HNT crowd*. I love all of you.

God bless everyone here tonight -- God bless the millions in our fellowship -- and God bless the alcoholic who still suffers.

I'm an alcoholic, my name is Phil. Thanks for letting me share.

*Yes, I really did say that. It was my way of thanking all of you in this marvelous recovery community in blogtopia (whether you actually participate with naked pictures or not!) Who knows, maybe some of you were there. :)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Road Warrior

I wouldn't have done a geographic to southern California if I wanted to be on Long Island in February.

This is my first business trip since getting sober. I was dreading it. I got so burned out on travel before. Getting up in the middle of the night, making my way to the airport, carrying heavy bags, going through security, the horrible air in the plane -- I was always completely frazzled by the time I got to my room, found a liquor store and started looking for strip clubs.

Well, the liquor store and strip club weren't on the agenda this time, but the rest was. And needless to say, by the time I reached my room I was... just fine, thank you! They must have done extensive customer service training at TSA. And they've improved the air on the planes a lot. The ordeal I anticipated was no sweat. I'm doing some work in my room, went to dinner with colleagues, and I'm prepared for the meeting tomorrow.

I'm really grateful they've been working so hard to make business travel less awful since I quit drinking.