Sobriety, like life, is a journey not a destination. It is a great adventure. My journey began on July 1st, 1980. This makes me very reflective during this time of the year.

When I first went into treatment and began a drug and alcohol free life, I thought all of the fun in life was over. This was because the only memories of fun-times I had, at the time, were connected with the use of alcohol and drugs.

Of course there were many bad experiences associated with the alcohol and drug use also. These circumstances were the desolation of my marriage, loss of custody of my son, employment problems, destruction of my self-esteem and sense of dignity and the devastation of my health. You see, I was in a hepatic coma for three and half months. The coma left me unable to walk, speak clearly, see normally or think coherently. I thought my life was over.

It was the people in AA that helped me face life on life’s terms. Quite often this wasn’t pretty or comfortable; I had to be slapped in the face with reality a number of times. But the last 24 years have brought about so many miraculous changes, it amazes me. I still can’t walk normally but my other disabilities have been overcome.

The neatest thing happened last week. I was at work and I received a call from a lady named Beth. She said she was coming to TCADA that afternoon to speak with Sgt. Wagner and wanted to talk to me also. I asked what I could do for her, thinking she probably thought I still worked in the licensing department. She said that everywhere she goes, people are talking about me and she thought since she’d be at TCADA she’d look me up.

After I hung up I started to think about what she had said. I mean 24.5 years ago when I was drinking and drugging, I would have thought she had heard about something stupid I had said or done. Now my life is so blessed I started thinking about all of the neat things I’m involved in and things people could say.

I’m in charge of TCADA’s Institute (conference) that’s coming up in August. This means I’ve been talking with all kinds of counselors and psychologists that want to be a presenter at the Institute. I’m active in the Red Hat Society and I do a lot of service work for AA. I have been a sponsor for a number of women in their sobriety. From 1991 to 2000 I worked for the State Department of Criminal Justice, Substance Abuse Treatment Program, ending my tenure with them as the Treatment Coordinator. I was then the Director of Treatment for the State Youth Commission for close to three years. I have two web sites with articles about my life and travels also. Recently I’ve been talking with the wife of the CBS newscaster here in town, (she’s in a wheel chair) about starting a get together for handicapped people so that we can learn from the experiences of each other. I travel all over the world and I’ve overcome a lot of handicaps.

I know when I worked for the Department of Criminal Justice I had many conversations with the inmates about changing their attitude toward the mistakes they had made in life. If they could look at their mistakes as stepping stones to help them get on the road of life they really wanted to take, it would give a positive meaning to the mistakes.

It’s neat to see how I can now be a positive influence on people’s lives. I have so much joy and excitement in my life, it literally amazes me. I go through each day with a happy heart and a smile on my face, thanks to the changes that were instigated by my activities in AA.

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