Steven Higgins here…
Here is my story well part of it anyway…
It is quite long…
A 36 year old man lying on a cot staring at the ceiling in a Jail Cell.
First wondering how he got here.
Next trying to imagine his life behind bars for the next 20-50 years.
This is Not good at all. ( He thought)
First, Jails and I don’t get along. I am an outdoors person
and I love my Freedom!
I started Drinking when I was 10 or 11. ( It was a Long time ago I know that.) My drinking escalated as I got into jr High and High School. In High School I added Drugs.
When I was drunk I didn’t even like me.
Korbel Brandy was “ My Drug of Choice”.
You will live longer if you drink the expensive stuff.
Yep that’s what someone told me, and I believed it. LOL
I use to go to the bar and my main objective was to
make sure that the “Green Bottle was empty when I left.
A Shot At A Time. ( I did that quite a few times)
I drank at home too. This alleviated the problem of me
going to the Bar and forgetting to come home at the right time.
When I use to drink at home the “Green Bottles” worked good
for a cover on how much you drank. Just add water. LOL
It worked until you forgot which bottle you had watered
down and you took a drink and found out You had the wrong bottle. LOL
Got an OWI I thought I might have a problem. Jumped
through all the hoops just to make everyone happy.
Naw, I could handle my drinking. I would have never got
caught if the wife didn’t call the cops.
I didn’t have a problem with drinking I could do that just fine.
I drank a lot and often
I used alcohol to hide and cover my feelings.
Good and Bad.
I had highs and lows.
When my highs were really high. I would beat myself up
telling myself I did not deserve to feel this good. I drank and got Drunk.
I had trouble dealing with this for a long time after
being sober too. (Beating myself up is a big Character
The biggest feeling was Fear.
Scared of everything (Paranoid)
What did I do last night?
How did I get Home?
Who drove the car home?
Where did all the money go?
When I went into treatment. Two things I found while in treatment were AA. and a Higher Power to my understanding whom I call God. I had always attested that my Higher Power was there even when I didn’t recognize He was there. In the bad and the good times.
120 Meetings in 120 days, Life was good for me.
When I first came into AA.I thought I was different and unique person.
Boy was I wrong.
When I started listening to other people in AA I discovered I wasn’t
different at all!
I could relate to the other people that would share at the meetings.
Maybe I am not hopeless after all, I thought
I tried to intellectualize the Steps. I tried to
work them my way. I’ll do this one but not that one.
That on doesn’t even pertain to me we will just forget that one. LOL
It was a rough road but I knew I was making progress.
As time went on some people did not like all the attention others were getting and the time I was spending in AA. I made a decision to stop going to so many meetings. I even quit contacting most of the people in the AA program.
I convinced myself that I could do this Program on my own.
Just to make other people happy.
I made it a point to stay close to nature.
For a long time staying in contact with nature and being outdoors helped me to stay in contact with my Higher Power.
I was unable to stay in contact with nature as much as I wanted or needed to.
I thought I had a handle on the Program. If I stayed Honest, tried to stay somewhat happy, kept a contact with HP, I wouldn’t drink.
I became complacent and finally with drew from everything
I was "dead" not physically but Spiritually.
I was just shell. I put my HP on a shelf and I only used my HP when I thought I needed Him.
I made my online business an excuse to stay in my office and stay withdrawn from the outside world and AA.
I became the "loneliest" person in the world.
Even with two other people living in the house I was lonely.
Another change occurred in my life.
I became aware of something this time though.
All of these changes in my life that happened. I had NO control over!
They just happened! WOW what a revelation! LOL
(We were going to be given a chance to retire early and receive a Severance/Buyout Package.)
I looked at my options. Made up my mind that early retirement would be to my advantage.
I also began to entertain thoughts of "why not try just a few drinks after I retire.”
“Just a couple couldn’t hurt.”
“If I can’t handle it I’ll quit.”
“No one will ever know.”
“I haven’t had a drink in almost 20 years!”
[My daughter’s bowling partner sat me down and asked me to tell my daughter what I thought of her. I proceeded to tell
my daughter that I had always looked up to her and admired her for what she had accomplished in her life in spite of having MS. I also told her that l had admired her for her courage and I thanked her for saving my life. If it wasn’t for her I would still be
drinking or most likely be dead by now.]
Something else took place that would change my life again! I didn’t know that at that particular moment. I was sitting in the parking lot at work texting about all the problems I was having at home and how my life was so unmanageable.
The person text me back "K.I.S.S."
I replied, "What?"
I will never forget what I was told next.
“You’re not working a Program are you?!”
I replied, "Not really."
"You ran as far and as fast as you could away from the Program!"
"You need to take a real good look at yourself!
Start reading the Big Book too!
Two things hit me really hard and I became very emotional.
One – I had not been able to look at myself in the mirror for several years.
Two – The person who had told me the things that I should do knew me better than I knew myself!
Memories came back to me about when I was “working a Program” and I had contact with my Higher Power on a daily basis. Life was manageable then. It wasn’t perfect but I felt good about me and who I thought I was as a person. I knew in my own
mind I had to start doing some of these things again and to get back maybe part of what I had a decade or so ago.
I found the Big Book online.
I also found my 24 Hours A Day Meditations Book.
I started reading these books daily. I realized that my Higher Power was there and reacquainted myself with Him.
When I had gotten to Chapter 3 in the Big Book. I felt a little anxious, really didn’t know why. I came to the story about the person that had stayed sober for many years while he worked.
Then I started to become emotional as I read the rest of the story. He was 55, retired, and decided that he would be able to drink without a problem. In 4 years he was DEAD!
I started crying after I read it. I came to the realization that I was planning a DRUNK.
“Yea”, I thought that could be you.
"Just keep on thinking a couple of drinks won’t hurt, if its’ too much you can always stop.
No one will ever know."
I have read the Big Book 2 more times since then and I still become very emotional when I read that story.
A few weeks later:
I was asking for some more suggestions about how I could make my Program better.
The person told me to go to see this person he would be your sponsor.
I should find a Meeting too.
I set up an appointment to talk to the person and told him my story from the beginning.
He gave me some more things to work on and gave me some websites that would be helpful.
He also suggested a meeting out of town that fit into my work schedule on Sunday Mornings.
As I was progressing personally and spiritually. The situation at home got worse and my relationship with my wife deteriorated more and more.
I was discovering things about myself that I had only touched on in the beginning of my sobriety or did not completely understand them at that point in time.
It suddenly became apparent to me that I had never been by myself in my entire life and that I owed it to myself to discover
who I am as an independent individual. I was not sure that I could accomplish these things in my current living situation. The thought had occurred to me that maybe moving out of the house would be the best thing for both me and my wife the way things were going.
I had seen how far some of the other people that had been in AA had progressed. I even saw people at meetings that had less sobriety than what I had and they progressed further than I
had. Even my Sponsor had relapsed several times and was way ahead of me.
I was a jealous of those people.
I was stuck and struggling trying to get back what I had at one time. The serenity, the peace of mind, and a lifestyle that was manageable.
Then what I call the 3-Day Miracle happened!
I sat down and wrote a note to my wife to establish some boundaries. I thought the note would be better since our communication with each other sucked.
I left to go to an AA Meeting.
When I returned I found a note that said,
"You don’t want me anymore. So I Left”.
I don’t get it. That is not what the note I wrote said at all.
I tried to call my wife’s cell phone.
I had waited a few minutes and made another call to my wife’s cell phone.
I thought, “Ok, you don’t want to talk to any one.”
Something just occurred to me. I text my Sponsor, I told him that my wife had left. I asked,
“Am I suppose to panic? Cause I’m not.”
He text me back, "Look out the window, take a deep breath, enjoy the silence."
I did what my Sponsor told me to do.
After a few minutes, a thought came to mind. "Without your wife here You can do what You Need to do for Yourself."
I finally did find out where my wife had gone.
I just wanted to be sure my wife was safe.
I started the next day off with some exercise! Wow! I had not done that for over a year or two maybe.
My wife finally called me and asked if she could come back home in a few days? She needed time to think. I told her I was not the one who told you to leave.
While my wife was gone. So many things started to fall into place for me and many things started to make sense. I was also able to stay focused on what I needed to do for me to keep
going forward in my Program.
One of the most monumental things that happened was that I began to "understand my relationship with my Higher Power.
"My faith started to grow by leaps and bounds and it was not anything big that happened. It was little things that happened on a daily basis that helped my faith in my High Power to grow.
My Faith was/is built on little things.
When you pray for someone to recover when they are sick. The next day you are able to visit them.
When you want someone to contact you so you know they are safe.
Getting internet service when you are out in the sticks. and there wasn’t any previously in the area.
My present residence is a perfect example: I walk out my back door and I have what I call a “Serenity Spot”. I can go there to Meditate and talk to HP Virtually anytime I choose.
After my wife returned home. Not very much changed. We still had a fight every time we tried to communicate with each other. There was a lot of resentment on my part that I was holding
on to. Every time I tried to move forward I would get yelled at.
There was a point at which I had to make one of the most difficult
decisions in my life:
I finally decided that the best thing would be for me to move out of the house for a period of time so I would be able to concentrate and come to a better understanding of myself.
I finally got around to admitting that I was the problem. Yep 99% of all the wrong things in my life was a product of me and my thinking. I use to blame everyone and everything else for my problems in my life.
Presently, I am SOBER.
I am Retired.
I could have never imagined that my Life could have changed this much in such a short period of time.
The best way to describe my life right now is FABULOUS!
I Love My Life, it is not perfect either. It is a work in Progress.
I am living by myself but I am Not Alone anymore!
Because I have a companion that walks with me and guides me down the right road. A power much greater than
myself, my HP whom I choose to call God. He gives me Guidance through out the day to do His Will Not Mine.
My old Companion was a bottle and most of the time is was empty.
And to think that all of this happened just because I had a Higher Power who was there even when I did not recognize Him and He worked through a person that cared enough
about people to help them no matter who it may be.
I have so many friends around the tables at AA Meetings I may not know all of their names but that doesn’t matter we are all friends in AA. My HP speaks through all of the people at the
tables all I have to do is listen.
You have to keep going to meetings I almost lost my sobriety or possible my life by not going.
I do Online Recovery Meetings as well as going to Meetings in the area. I am also a Chairperson for a Monday Morning Meeting.
Sharing with Others is how this Program Works!
Also to an Awesome Sponsor that gave me the guidance I needed when I needed it.
A Day at a Time, an Hour at a Time or a Minute at a Time what ever it took to get through the trials and tribulations of life and not take that one drink.
Things I have learned in the program:
One person described it as “trying to lift that 475# cell phone up to
your ear is difficult for a lot of people and I fit right in that group
I have had problems calling people and asking for help. Or just to
vent. That phone use to weigh a ton and dialing was not easy either.
I thank God for technology. I was never real good at picking up the phone and calling some one in my recent resurgence and I was going through some rough times I filled up my sponsors Phone with text messages more than once. I then found out that that phone wasn’t as heavy as I thought it was.
In fact it is pretty easy to pick up and call some one just to talk a little while.
It is very important to have someone to contact. whether it be calling or texting when you need a person to talk to. I have a few people other that my sponsor that I will call first and then I hit my phone list.
Just as long as you have some one that is in Recovery to talk to that person understands what you are talking about and what you are going through.
Unless I accept Life on Life’s terms I can not be Happy.
I love nature and what nature can teach us mere mortals about living life to the fullest with out the walls, barricades or anything else we attempt to build to keep us from seeing and experiencing the world as God intended us to see it.
In this Digital fast paced technology based society we live in today.
Yes, I do take time to smell the Roses, watch an Eagle soar in the air, and listen for the wind to blow through the leaves and hear the whisper of angels to guide me through out the day.
Today I can do these things thing because I am Sober and I have an Awesome Life!
I have gained so much Humility and Gratitude from my HP and everyone in AA .
Thank you for keeping Me Sober for one more 24 hours.
You have to work all of the 12 Steps in this program most of them I work every day.
I say a prayer every morning and evening beginning by thanking god for my sobriety for one more day and the Fabulous Life that I am presently living.
Addition to the end…
Yes Life goes ON! I am so grateful for this program and my higher power that gave me the courage to get back together with my wife.
It has also given me the courage to tell her thank you for giving me the time that I needed to find myself and this has helped me to understand and accept me as the person that I am supposed to be today!