Grateful Sunday (Tuesday) #38: Celebrating One Year Clean

In my previous post I vaguely acknowledged it, covering a year of larger-scale gratitudes. My official sobriety date is December 3rd, 2012 so at last writing I had not quite hit it, and thus didn’t want to mention it (just so much more satisfying to say after it has fully come to fruition).  Personally, I believe having a concrete sobriety date is pretty important.  For me it was very clear that on that day, I had given my will up to a higher power, and would not be going back.  It would still be three days’ time before I was admitted to rehab, but I had made my decision and that finality kept me clean until.

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For some it is a more murky affair: there were people I was inpatient with who were dropped at the door nearly in a catatonic blackout and would have no memory of the moment; others came in also under the influence of all sorts of opiates and chemicals and would not have their senses fully restored for closer to several days; still others willingly loaded up on booze or pills right before they voluntarily admitted themselves, for one final go-’round.  I am proud to say that I did not need to do this.

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So annual Thanksgiving parties will precede two important dates for me: 12/03, of my sobriety, and 12/06, of my admittance to inpatient rehabilitation.  The day following Thanksgiving last weekend, I took a trip back to my old hometown to see everyone – “everyone” being essentially the largest gathering of high school acquaintances at any given time during the year.  Friends are back to visit family and celebrate, but it’s not such a private holiday that you can’t capitalize on reuniting with the posse from yesteryear.  Thus, the nights before/after Thanksgiving day have historically been known to be good for grander gatherings.  I had been planning for this particular visit for some time; one of the more notable musicians to come out of Hamilton Central was playing a set downtown, and his oft-absurd acoustic performances don’t disappoint.

Uploaded in 2006 with some 800,000 views now, Isto was our original “YouTube star.” His favorite tune of mine is one about his “love” for Ann Coulter – take a couple minutes to find it if you’re politically minded.

I first drove over to an old friend’s home (whose family is basically like a second to mine) to meet up with a larger group before walking downtown (perks of smalltown life).  What I was not expecting was a surprise one-year anniversary party, which was exactly what was waiting for me.  It took me probably a full 5 minutes before I realized what was going on; I was completely nonplussed at all the party hats and cupcakes I saw when I walked in the door.  My one-year date had been in the back of my mind, but I thought I had not really shared the time of year with so many people that it would warrant a collective celebration.  The room had a good laugh at my utter confusion; I was totally not expecting it.

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Also ran into this family of deer in the park later on, so there’s that.

Which again goes to demonstrate how truly great my friends are.  I really felt the love that night.  I haven’t done anything extravagant otherwise in terms of an anniversary (tough I did go back to Tully Hill this past Saturday night to pick up my 1-year chip), but seeing everyone congregate to congratulate had me feeling some type of way.  Furthermore when I was out and about on the town later that evening, I was mildly astonished at how many compliments of respect and admiration I got (word travels fast among friends in a small town).  Feels good, man.  They say the first year is the hardest, and I made it through just nice.  Here’s to many more.

Bonus: a tribute mix to John Lennon, honoring the anniversary of the day he was fatally shot. John was my favorite Beatle; Nicolas Jaar is one of my favorite producers. Haunting, beautiful, emotional – this is a good listen.

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