Every summer I celebrate--my birthday in June, and my "birthday" in August. I stopped drinking in August 1982 and every single day I'm grateful for that--and every year under my belt feels like another plank in the beautiful deck I've been trying to build of my life.
Recently I visited some dear old friends and relatives I haven't seen in forever, and was awash in the gratitude all over again. First, one of my very favorite relatives (and I have a lot of them) shared that she's been sober for as long as I have--a fact that had somehow escaped me earlier. Well, nothing will bond two ex drinkers like knowing, suddenly, they're sober partners in crime. Did I mention I love this woman to pieces? We shared some war stories and lots of happy ones. She gave me the biggest compliment: "You still have that alcoholic sense of humor, though!"
I also heard about another friend, who's struggling. I don't want to say much more about it, but his story hit close to home--and I was grateful all over again that in my life, with its jillions of ups and downs, had never quite hit that point. He and his family will be in my prayers.
People ask if I ever miss drinking and the honest answer really is no. Sometimes I miss the ritual--and I used to miss the taste of champagne. Some people ask if I've ever been tempted-- and in almost 28 years I can honestly say no...except for one time: right after the Northridge earthquake, when I was living in Santa Monica and thought we were being bombed. It rearranged my molecules and I seriously was white knuckling it, and truly had to cut things down to one day, one hour at a time.
But that feeling passed after a couple of weeks and looking back, I realized I really never intended to take a drink--I just *thought* about it a lot. (I also couldn't bear to go back to Day One, either, which I realize is lame, but my feeling is, anything that keeps you on the right path is a good thing.)
So I'd like to raise a glass of San Pellegrino, no ice, lime or lemon, in honor of dealing with the hand of cards you're dealt. And I am happy every single day that of all my demons, demon alcohol isn't one.