It started in Kindergarten. On my final day of that first year of school I was presented with a certificate, acknowledging my big accomplishment. I had perfect attendance for the year.
No days off sick. No mornings running late to class. No family vacations that ran over into the class schedule. I had been there every day, on time, ready for whatever my teacher had planned for my classmates and me.
I was so proud of that accomplishment. So proud of that little piece of paper. Proud of the fact that I had done something that only one or two others in my class had managed to do.
Looking back, it was Mom and Dad who deserved that award. It was their effort that got me to school each day. Their planning that assured us that we would be in town each day. All I had done was to show up and do what I was instructed to do.
The actual work involved was minimal. Wake up. Shower. Eat breakfast. Brush teeth. Walk to the bus stop with John. Why do they give out certificates for doing what I was supposed to be doing?
Birthdays are similar. A month from today I’ll turn 57. That means 57 years of special days dedicated to Kent. Why? What did I do? All I did was what every living person on earth once did. What each of us had to do. Experience birth.
In truth, my mom did all the work. She carried me for months. She endured the pain of labor and birth. Again, all I did was to show up!
Holidays are the same. Special days to commemorate things that others have accomplished. A day to acknowledge those who died protecting our nation. Or one to celebrate the founding of our country. Or religious holidays, designed to commemorate what God has done for us.
So many special days in which all I really need to do is to show up. Why do I even get to celebrate such days?
There is one celebration that I earn each and every day. It is the celebration I get to experience at the end of each day when I lay my head down to sleep, knowing I’m clean. I can rest peacefully, knowing that no matter what I faced that day, good or bad, I did it without the influence of drugs.
That’s the most courageous thing I ever do. It’s an act of courage I see addicts doing all around me. Addicts who choose recovery over drugs. Who choose to stay clean just for today. Addicts who face the loss of loved ones, break-ups, unemployment, even homelessness, and stay clean, just for today. From the inside of this disease, I am exposed to a lot of courageous people who are winning the fight, day-by-day.
I’ll continue to celebrate my birthdays. I’ll enjoy holidays too. I’d be a fool not to!
More importantly though, I’ll celebrate every day spent in recovery. Every opportunity to apply spiritual principles to my life. Those little acts of courage in my life, and the lives of addicts all around me that have made life worth living again.
Have a remarkable day!