March 17th is coming up this weekend. It’s been a long time that I celebrated any type of St. Patty’s Day celebration. I’m not Irish nor do I drink alcohol, but it’s a holiday for many of us in the AA realm, that’s deadly. I was at a meeting last night that many people spoke of the horrors of that holiday and how much green beer they drank. They spoke of how they don’t remember the parades or even of the bars they visited on that day. The last St. Patty’s Day that I celebrated would have been in March of 1995 and I only would have celebrated it just to say I had some green beer and got drunk. This Sunday, when the day actually is St. Patty’s Day, I’ll probably wear green just to stay in the fun spirit of it all, and that will be the extent of it. I don’t miss drinking at all nor my actions that I had on holidays such as this one. And just recently when I was on my cruise, I remembered why I don’t miss all those years that I spent getting drunk.
In the last year or so, cruise ships have added packages that a person can purchase for their voyage. There are the all you can drink soda packages and there are the all you can drink alcohol packages. On this past cruise, I had the premium soda package which allowed me unlimited Perrier, San Pellegrino, decaf lattes, and smoothies. Because I’m a curious person, even though I haven’t had a drink in over 17 years, I inquired on how much the alcohol package was. For $400, one could drink all the beer, wine, and mixed drinks they wanted for the cruise. I figured it out in my head with the prices they charged on the ship for a drink, that a person would need to consume at least 6 alcoholic beverages a day just to break even. What was even crazier was how many people had done that on the ship during my cruise.
I’m grateful I never did a cruise nor had a package like that back when I was drinking. I would have spent my money on it, probably had no more than 4 drinks each day because of being a lightweight, and I would have missed my whole vacation being passed out and blacked out. On one of the nights of my cruise, one of those people that I could safely assume had that alcohol package, got on the elevator around 10pm just after I finished dinner. He stumbled over himself and slurred his words asking where the party was on the ship as the elevator ascended upward. I felt sad for him. The truth is that he was me many years ago. I saw that same guy on the ship every day for the rest of the cruise and not once did I see him sober. Not once. That would have been me.
I loved the all you can drink specials at bars all those years ago. It justified my alcoholism and gave me a reason to celebrate holidays like St. Patty’s Day even though I wasn’t Irish. I’m grateful that I have a God centered life today and a strong recovery program because I know that I most likely would have been drunk on that all you can drink alcohol package on my cruise and would probably be stumbling out of a bar in Boston this Sunday and into the middle of the big parade on St. Patty’s Day.
I’m so grateful to be sober today.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson