I looked back at some of the writing I did on Sunday, September 10, 2000— my sobriety day.
I woke up “with bad hangover & very fuzzy”. I also wrote that I “decided upon waking what i had suspected and hoped: today is the day. i do not want to consume drugs or alcohol today. today. and i will go to an AA mtg tonight if i can find one. today is the day.”
I went to Church— 11AM Mass at Queen of Angels. The gospel was this story:
Jesus Heals a Deaf and Mute Man
(Isaiah 35:1-10; Matthew 9:32-34)
And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.
Since that day (and I hadn’t realized it was that day that I first heard that gospel), the idea of being opened has been key to me. It means not being cynical, having humility, approaching the world flat-footed and ready.
I always seek to be opened.
We sang Amazing Grace as the exit song, and I sobbed, as is not uncommon. I remember that we sang it all the way through— every verse. I am notorious (with my children) for never leaving Mass until the recessional hymn is completely through. The final verse put the hammer down on me— the concept of days and time was high on my mind as I was set to begin AA:
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.
So far, one day at a time, my sobriety has stuck, and I am greatfeul. Ephphatha forever and for all of us.