It gives me great pleasure to celebrate today, Oct. 2 2012, my 20th anniversary clean and sober. This milepost, which once seemed so dim and remote, is now a present reality, and I feel an inner glow of happiness and empowerment. Truly, getting sober is among the very best decisions I have made in my life, and one that I will never regret.
I could not have come this far without the support of a whole “village,” face-to-face and online, and I want to extend my warm thanks to all of you who have been there at one time or another throughout these two decades, lending your empathy, your persistence, your encouragement and the model of your sober lives. I want to thank especially the convenors (meeting facilitators) from the early days, when meetings were few and small, but who kept showing up and kept the room open; without them I would not be here today.
Since some readers of this site are unaware of my history in this regard, let me sketch it in a few words. I picked up a nasty drinking habit in college, beginning with fraternity rush, and was never afterward able to stop with just one. In my 40s this turned into a nightly drink-to-pass-out scene which was extremely boring and threatened to swallow up my whole existence. Thanks to a timely brief intervention by one of my children, then aged 10, I got myself into treatment at Kaiser Oakland. Oct. 2 1992 was my first day clean and sober. That same week I began attending the recovery support groups that are today LifeRing Secular Recovery (http://lifering.org). I served as CEO of LifeRing for 14 years, and wrote a number of its texts (a facilitator handbook, a workbook, a general introductory book, among others). In the summer of 2010 I retired from leadership in the organization, but remain an active supporter and occasional presenter. I am part of the 60 per cent majority of alcoholics who achieve long-term sobriety (>5 years) without using Alcoholics Anonymous. I respect the brothers and sisters who do it in AA, but my enthusiasm has been and remains with the secular alternatives, first and foremost LifeRing. In my opinion this positive, constructive approach is the wave of the future. In any event, it is working for me, and for that I am very grateful.
20-year Pellegrino graphic design credit: Fred N.