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Blog > The Common Goal: Staying Sober One Day at a Time

The Common Goal: Staying Sober One Day at a Time

Amy Cooper
| February 21, 2017

It’s Sunday and 3:50 am and the alarm is chiming away. When I finally lift my head to hit snooze, I realize I am to be downstairs, both bags packed, and be ready to leave for the airport. Ugh. I am up.

I decided before I went to bed late last night that I would reorganize the items in both of my suitcases. I thought it may just work better that way. I told myself that I would do it this morning. So, I don’t get the 10-minute snooze option; I am up.

My grand idea of making everything fit was perfect. Too bad I didn’t do it last night because I could have hit the snooze button now. But, isn’t that what addicts and alcoholics do? We often procrastinate, exaggerate and sometimes wait until the very last minute to implement the grand idea we have.

Sometimes we simply forget the “grand idea”. I have notebooks and journals around me at home, work, and in the car just in case I get that grand idea. Thank the Lord that my suitcase switching worked and everything fit! Off to the airport I went. As we were going to the airport and glancing at the clock, it took me back for a brief moment to all the times at 4 am I had to get a ride home from the party, from the bar, or from a guy’s house.

Back then, when I was using, I felt I had to hurry home… to do what? Wait to fall asleep? Sleep rarely happened for me those mornings because of all the coke and alcohol I had inside of me. Most times I would get home, and step outside to smoke cigarettes and drink, smoke and drink some more. I would have to drink the craving for more coke away because it was gone– I always finished it way before the end of the night.

I shake my head at the nightmare of my past as that’s where it will stay by God’s Grace, one day at a time.

That particular morning, I was flying home from Nashville, Tennessee. That flight was why I was up so early. I was flying Panama City Beach, Florida, where I call home. I have the honor of becoming a part of Heroes in Recovery 2017 Advocacy Team, and was part of a team-building weekend. I was nervous, of course, to begin with when I arrived in the lobby that previous Thursday morning.

When I first arrived in Nashville, I changed my clothes three times and sent pictures of myself to my girls as we finally agreed on what looked good. I am unsure as to why I struggle at times with what does and doesn’t look good. Maybe because of that character defect of insecurity that creeps up at times. This past weekend was nothing short of a miracle that they talk about in the big book.

Meeting my team was awesome. Normal. They were all normal to me. They were kind, real, and transparent. Isn’t that what recovery is about? Real. Transparent. Alive. Dealing daily with life on life’s terms—accepting things and laying my sober head on a soft pillow to rest before my feet hit the ground running the next day.

Today, I am almost seven years sober. I am still figuring out who the heck I am. Isn’t that what life is truly about? Every day we learn. I learn what I like and don’t like, who I like and don’t like, and why I like and don’t like.

I have a clinical diagnosis of ADHD, depression and anxiety. Whew! That’s enough to make anyone freak! I also have a tad of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) to top it off. I manage with exercise, healthy food, taking my medicine as prescribed, and working a program of recovery. I wouldn’t change what’s in and around my life today–except to just bring it all in tighter and closer!

In my sobriety, I have accomplished many things. I have made amends with two beautiful girls who I am proud to call my daughters and they are finally proud to call me their mom. I founded a nonprofit that just celebrated five years, I am nationally certified for intervention work, sober/recovery coaching, family coaching, and both gambling and food addiction coaching. I am currently working on my Certified Addictions Professional certification. I founded a women’s center in 2015 to help women who are coming out of jail, prison, or treatment. We help them with job searches, resume assistance, apparel, and whatever else our clients may need for themselves or their children. We are opening a sober living facility this year as well!

I share this with you with a humble and grateful heart and want you to know that to never ever give up! I decided to stay in active addiction for over 20 years, did 19 months in federal prison and now…with God’s Grace, I do this deal one day at a time in my active recovery.

I am human and make mistakes all the time. To recognize and correct what led to the mistake is what recovery is about. This past Wednesday evening before I left for Nashville, my sponsor texted me five minutes before the meeting started and asked where I was– I was supposed to chair our women’s meeting. I panicked. That was honestly a first for me– to forget this important priority in my life. The day was jammed already and I SHOULD have just found someone to cover for me, but my brain was on overload and… enough excuses…I forgot!

I should not be too harsh on myself. I was also in the middle of drastically downsizing my store to just women’s clothing, I had also visited our local jail with two clients and visited with one client in my office, all before making sure I had the right warm clothes for Nashville, making sure my girls were taken care of for the week, working on upcoming Gala promotions, and more. Instead of panicking too long, I made a phone call to my friend and she was able to take my place at the meeting. She even called me after the meeting and said it was a God thing because she had a topic on her mind already. That was God doing for me and the women’s meeting what couldn’t be done alone.

No one I’ve ever met with successful sobriety goes the road of recovery alone. They are involved in 12-step meetings, they have a sponsor, have a sober/recovery coach, and/or attend treatment alumni meetings, and more.

For me, planning my day, week and month is advantageous to my successful sobriety. I need to hear it, see it, and write it down. I need to be reminded with my alarm as well. For some who are newly in sobriety it’s important to remember to take care of ourselves. Sometimes that is in simple ways, by taking regular showers, brushing our teeth regularly, and washing our clothes. For others it’s about remembering to pick up kids and knowing what grocery store doesn’t cause temptation to buy a bottle of wine or case of beer. For others, taking care of self is remembering what board meeting is most important and what merger will be sufficient. We come from all walks of life to meet on the road to recovery.

We all share the common goal– staying sober one day at a time.

My goals are to be a better planner this upcoming year, to be able to hit the snooze button and still accomplish my goals one at a time, before deadline time. I will always have more than one thing going on, as it’s what drives my personality, but my priorities will follow spirituality/recovery, family, and work. I am just grateful for each day, the daily gift from God known as the present.

Thank you for allowing me to share, look forward to getting to know you all this year.

Amy C.

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