Yesterday came and went without much fanfare. I looked on the calendar and it said, “your AA birthday… 1982”. I smiled and posted on Facebook that 32 years ago my life changed for the better and I thanked Bill… and then a couple of hundred people stopped on my page to wish me well. A couple of hundred!
I wish I could explain to you what my life was like 32 years ago. If I said it was a complete shambles, I would not be lying. I had lost my child… my marriage was over… my self esteem was over… my career was so badly damaged that it would take me over a decade to regain the respect of those who would work with me. It was a horrible, horrible time in my life. But then my Eskimo came and said to me, “You’re an alcoholic and you need AA.” Why had he said that? You see I had fallen in an aerobics class…one I had gone to stoned… and I had broken my ankle. My leg was in a cast up to my knee and I was chain-smoking pot. I called my Eskimo and told him I couldn’t stand the cast on my leg anymore and I was taking it off with a pair of toe nail clippers. All he said, is, “Wait, I’ll be right there.” And he came over and we talked and the next day I sat in the very last row of the Radford meeting house, by the door, listening to everyone tell their story.
The first person I saw that day was a friend from the Comedy Store. She was there… and it made sense… she was a huge drunk. I was glad to see her…and she welcomed me with open arms…”Steve, there’s a seat for you here… sit down, listen and enjoy.” I did listen and the one thing I noticed was how happy everyone was. I was not happy. As a matter of fact, I had never been so miserable in my life. But there was something in that room that called to me and so the very next day I went back to that meeting… and I went back every single day since then for 32 years. Now when I say I went back every single day, it does not mean I was at a meeting every single day, it means that I kept the principals in my heart and where ever I went, I carried a meeting with me.
So how has it changed? I’m not miserable anymore, not to the extent I was 32 years ago. I still have my days… but I know today that my worst day today is nothing like the worst days I had 32 years and two days ago. My head is clear. I’m allowed me to do things I never felt “enough” to do… like write. So far I have written seven plays, two films, two books and a blog. The joy I get from writing has far surpasses the joy I got from standing on stage telling jokes. To tell you the truth, there was no joy there… there was only fear. I remember doing a TV show and my heart was pounding so hard that I began to have pain in my shoulder, like a heart attack. It was a horrible experience. I never forgot it.
But with writing, I can sit in my office, alone, quiet, and spill my heart out and then read the comments on Facebook. Facebook, where my second career has taken hold, where over 3000 people have friended me, where I seem to have an endless stream of comments on ever subject and know not where they come from.
The gifts I have been handed these last 32 years are huge. I was someone who was so miserable some days I could not get out of bed. That doesn’t happen anymore. People have been placed into my life, like Judy Robertson, of Coogee Beach, Australia, who have picked me up, held me close, given me love and then passed on to show me that I could stand on my own two feet without them. I met Judy in Sydney, Australia at a meeting. She came along just when my sobriety needed a boost. And we had many wonderful years together… she gave me the strength to carry on without her. I know that if she was here today, it would be Judy who would be shouting from the housetops… “MY MATE STEVE HAS 32 YEARS!!!” She loved me, like no one ever loved me. She loved me the way I always wanted to be loved. And I loved her for loving me like that.
And so this last paragraph is for the person out there who has no hope, who can’t stop drinking or using drugs, whose life has fallen apart and they can understand why. I am here to tell you it works if you work it, there is a solution if you live your life one day at a time and just keep coming back. I came back… I came back from despair, from ruin and from self-hatred. I still hate myself but at least today I can do it with a clear head. It’s a good thing… a very good thing.
Love you, Judy, always.