Plodding Sobriety


I had dinner with my friend Tall Girl last week. She said, “You really are the epitome of the steps – putting one foot in front of the other. No matter what has happened to you, you just kept plodding along, staying sober… ” I never thought of it that way before, but I am a product of my Midwestern upbringing and once I put my mind to something I have a tendency to get the job done…

I have likened myself to a plow horse before. It reminds me of the first time I went horseback riding. A little piece of Americana when I was about 10, and my godfather lived on a farm. He put me on some swaybacked nag with a non-threatening name like Nellybell or Daisy and it was everything I could do (kicking like I’d seen in the movies and “yee-ha” smacking her with a switch) to just keep her moving forward over the fields. It was an extremely boring, plodding undertaking until we rounded a bend and ole Daisy caught sight of the barn. Her ears perked up for a brief moment and then they flattened and she did a sort of shimmy and took off as if she had been named something more daring – like Lightning or Widow Maker…

The barn was really a shed, with a low slung door and as we approached at warp speed I remember the thought flashing through my head, “I’m not going to fit…”  I didn’t think to duck, but I had the wherewithal to let go of the reins and put my hands out, saving the moneymaker, but jettisoning me backwards, off Daisy’s ass-end and rolling me in a series of backward summersaults. I was a disaster in gymnastics class, but this was a tumbling display worthy of Nadia Comaneci. I wound up flat on my back at the hooves of my godfather’s horse, assuring him (looking down on me) I was “okay” even though I was unable to breath properly for quite some time.

This little parable teaches us two important lessons in recovery and in life:

  1. Do not judge;
  2. Even an old plowhorse can rally and run like the wind with the right motivation…

Keep plodding on my sober friends, but when opportunity presents itself, run towards it like, well, like a workhorse in sight of the barn!

Today I’m not drinking because I can see the barn!

How come you’re not drinking?