Over the past few weeks, I’ve increased my AA attendance – I am now attending daily meetings. I have also found that the early morning meetings work best for me. This way, I can not only start my day early, but also start it with the right message. It is a message of hope. And that is what I wish to share in this post today.
If you’ve ever been to a meeting, you realize that attending the AA program has numerous benefits. You are surrounded by people who are in recovery, and understand what you’ve been through. If, like me, you thankfully never hit the absolute rock bottom (prison, homelessness, lack of food, withdrawal symptoms, etc.), you realize what you’ve avoided. And all around you, you can see what you can become if you put in the work, because you are surrounded by absolutely fantastic, most caring and enlightening individuals from all walks of life. If you’re lucky, you may even get one of these people to sponsor you. So you see, through the stories of others, you can see who you were, what you avoided and what you have the potential to become.
What is helping me immensely is knowing that I am not the only one who has ever gotten a DUI. There are many others like me. This means that I am not far gone just yet. I have a chance to become a better person, and perhaps one day even be someone who helps others rehabilitate.
Perhaps your story is different – perhaps after a DUI you haven’t been too down. In all honesty, I went about my life in as…normal…a manner as I could, except I didn’t drink, for the first month and a half. But there was this lingering sadness. There still is. The selfish part of me only wants to think about the harm I’ve done to my life (even knowing full well I posed a far greater danger to others). The financial, social and career costs are so high – perhaps rightfully so because they force you to change. And thinking about the damage just brings me down. The thought that keeps coming back to me is, “you worked so hard to get to a point in life where you were at a jumping off point. You were ready for a career in law. Your finances were in order. The girl of your dreams thought so highly of you. And you messed up big time. Nothing will ever be the same.”
And then there are moments, like now, when I am hopeful. Maybe it’s good that nothing will be the same, because things have a chance to be much, much better. The one thing that sticks out is this statement made by someone at an AA meeting a few weeks ago, “life doesn’t stop because you stop drinking.” I’ve been thinking about this for quite a bit. There are two things that I have been able to flesh out:
- First and most obviously, life goes on. You have to keep living.
- But more importantly, it is because that life goes on that you too much keep going on. Changing your life for the better isn’t just a passive process. You must push in the proper direction to get the proper result. So while the life can absolutely keep going on, in order for it to go on in the right direction, you have to attempt to do better.
Knowing this gives me some semblance of comfort. As I type this, I can see that all of this makes so little sense. One moment I am complaining because of my selfishness, and the next I am talking about positivity. I suppose here is the best I can do, for now: a DUI takes away much of the control you had in life – you’re burdened financially, emotionally and spiritually; your driving privileges are gone; you can’t think about the past without remembering the night in jail; you feel like you’ve let everyone down; oh and by the way, your physical freedom rests in the hands of a judge, your future driving privileges are up to the mercy of the DMV, and whether you ever get to practice your career in the state of your choice is up to the state bar. You have officially placed your fate in the hands of people you have never met. But knowing that life goes on, that you have a chance to make your life better, and that you have examples of fine people at AA who have been through the same mess as you and come out on top is an amazing feeling. You feel that you have some input in your life again. And at this point, that feels good.