This Time Must Be Different
“I simply do not believe the conclusions I have drawn from my present condition, which has already lasted almost a year, my condition is too serious for that. Indeed, I do not even know whether I can say that it is not a new condition. My real opinion, however, is that this condition is new-I have had similar ones, but never one like this.” Franz Kafka, Diaries, December 15, 1910
This is not my first time being sober for a year. This is the first time I have been open about it. I am filled with great anxiety as I approach this milestone. Again.
I know the daily grind of sobriety as I “trudge this road of happy destiny.” Happy destiny. At times, it seems like a race I am running and my family and friends are on the sidelines cheering me on to the finish. But, with sobriety, there is no finish. It is a daily condition I must face, and with each step, I cannot forget what my goal is. My goal is for this time to be different. I cannot let my guard down. This is what has gotten me into trouble before. I do the work. I run the race. Then, I get tired and quit. I cannot imagine my life without taking a drink.
This past year I have thought to myself, “This time it is different.” Then, I get comfortable, and those old thoughts return to me. The thoughts that maybe I can drink just one drink. When this happens, I must recollect my last drink or drinks. There was never just one. I am one of the lucky ones who made it back into recovery. I am one of the lucky ones who can recall how bad my last drunk was. I remember the misery and the desperation.
In the past, I held my sobriety in secret with only my family and a few friends knowing what I was going through. I did this because in the back of my mind I knew if I were open I would never be able to drink again. I would say to myself, “keep your ace in the hole.” This meant for me that I could try again to drink normally one day. I can’t drink normally.
As I sit writing on this beautiful Autumn day enjoying my porch, I know this time it is different. Alone with my thoughts, I don’t have an ace in the hole. There is no going back. I must only move forward and do what it takes each day to make this time different. Alcoholics, alone with our thoughts must remember we are not alone. There is a solution. That solution for me is recovery. I will continue to stay sober. This is not a race. This is one day at a time. This time, it must be different.