Let’s see now, I sobered up in June, left my husband in July, changed careers in November, In December my cat died that I had for 11 years, my good friend died of lung cancer in January, I filed for divorce in February, I bought a new car in march, my divorce was final in May and I bought a new mobile home in June. And they say do nothing different for the first year of sobriety!! Like I said before, I never did anything right and I never felt like I belonged anywhere.
I went to an AA meeting in June to collect a one year chip. June 21st was the one year mark. They celebrate once a month for years of sobriety. I went to the meeting and they opened it up and started asking if anyone had a year to celebrate. I raised my hand and the chair person asked me who my sponsor was so she could introduce me. I was floored!! I didn’t have a sponsor. I got really embarrassed then sat back down. There were about 50 people there, and they were all staring at me. Geeze, I didn’t know the rules!! Just then a guy jumped up from the crowd and said “My name is Gary, and I am an alcoholic and I’d like to congratulate Phyllis for her one year!!” He was smiling ear to ear, and then I recognized him as a friend from my high school class!! He left for Viet Nam in 1968 and got all messed up over there and took the road of drugs and alcohol then found his way to the AA program!! Gary and I were friends at school and I was so happy to see a familiar face!! We hugged and cried together, then we talked and he convinced me to find a sponsor. It was hard to get to meetings because I worked from around noon to about 8:00pm. Tuesday –Saturday. I had Monday night Fire Drill and Wed Night Rescue squad drill and worked 24 hours on Sundays. Most AA meetings were at noon or 8:00pm lasting to 9:30pm. It takes ½ hour to get to Oak Harbor where the meetings are, so I would get there for the last half of the meeting. But at least I would show up and mingle with the people. For the first two years I still did not like the meetings. The people there thought they knew all the answers, and seemed mad at the world. They all seemed angry at something. They had a “click” too. I went to a potluck once and nobody was friendly to me at all. They were all in their little groups. I would find someone I could relate to and ask if they’d be my sponsor, and they would say they sponsor too many already, or I live too far away and to find someone closer to me. Egads, now I know what a guy feels like asking a gal out and being turned down!! I started straying away from the meetings and going to bars and drinking diet Dr. Pepper. I would go out to the place I used to work by the Ferry and they would put up a diet Dr. Pepper as soon as they saw me. I used to drink Peach Schnapps on the rocks , so they bought a bottle of alcohol free Peach Schnapps to keep behind the bar for me!! I ordered one and they served it to me. I took a sip then felt really strange. I read the label and it said alcohol free but I felt like WHO THE HELL AM I KIDDING!! I am setting myself up for a big slip, and I did not want to go back to that lonely drunk life again!!
I found a different AA meeting in Oak Harbor called the Blue Box. They called it that because they had a portable closet painted blue that they keep all the books and pamphlets in during the week. We met in the basement of a Church. The minute I walked in there I felt right at home!! Everyone was smiling and welcomed me. They were a bunch of people that didn’t like the Hall down town because of all the cussing and smoking. This was a smoke free meeting that had a break for smokers. After the meeting people came up to me and introduced themselves and hugged me and welcomed me. I noticed big burly construction working guys hugging each other!! There was a lot of love in these rooms and everyone truly cared about each other. I found home!! To this day I still attend the Blue Box!! I make sure I introduce myself to any newcomers. I make sure I never say no to anyone asking me to sponsor them!! I get phone numbers and when I sit at home and feel bored once in awhile I pick up the phone and call them!! Especially the newcomers!!
After work I would walk three miles, and I decided to go on a diet too!! Nothing seemed to work so I went on a Toppfast diet. It was the diet like Oprah Winfrey went on when she lost so much weight the first time. It was powdered crap that you mix with water or soda. You drink that for four meals a day for 5 days then for two days eat sensible meals.
I was on that diet for 7 months and lost about 100 pounds!! I looked good, I felt good, I had energy, I was single and forty!! It was mid 1989 and I was on top of the world!!