Today is my daughter’s fourth birthday!

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I awakened to this text message from her:

Today I am grateful for 4 years of sobriety, that I am not defined by who I used to be but I am a stronger person because of it, for a huge God who loves me even when I don’t love myself, for an amazing family, for Matt and our marriage, for my puppy who makes me so happy, for lots of clients and that I get to work today, for people showing up for me, that I get to show up for life, for my amazing sponsor, for getting to be a part of a 5th step this week, for fun clothes and good weather, for health, for the Vampire Diaries, for all the amazing people in my life, and that today I get to know what true friends are.”

It was four years ago yesterday that I kept calling Kristin into the night, with no answer.  I finally texted her and she replied, “I’m sleeping right now.”  That seemed a little strange to me and so I called her one more time.  This time she answered and in the midst of tears she cried out, “Mom, I think I’m an alcoholic.”  That began her journey for sobriety and the rest is her story to tell.

But today I am grateful for my dear daughter, for her fierce fight for sobriety, for the many things she teaches me about living a life of recovery, for the wisdom this courageous journey has taught her, for her husband who is a partner in sobriety, for a family where we can tell the good/bad/ugly truths of our lives, but most of all I am grateful beyond words for grace.  Truly, in our family all is grace — woven in and out of the failure and successes, the birthdays celebrated and relapses confessed, the day in and day out dreams, hopes, disappointments, fears, vulnerabilities and insecurities — all is grace.

Every recovery birthday celebrated by those of us who are “the liars, the addicts, the fools, the totally uncool” celebrates grace.  As addict, ragamuffin Brennan Manning writes in his final memoir, “[this grace] works without asking anything of us.  It’s not cheap.  It’s free, and as such will always be a banana peel for the orthodox fool and a fairy tale for the grown-up sensibility.  Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might to try to find something or someone it cannot cover.  Grace is enough.”  Or as the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says, “When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crises we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn’t.  What was our choice to be?”

Today I celebrate my daughter’s awakening four years ago with”woozy eyes”, stumbling heart, and all of  her weaknesses showing.  I celebrate her small, faltering choices one after another to surrender to Grace, and in so doing choosing Everything.  Today I celebrate grace.  I celebrate that God is.  And as I go to a meeting, sitting in a circle of chairs, announcing, “My name is Sharon, and I’m an alcoholic,” my soul will be wide awake, and I will probably be humming this song:

How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes
I struggle to find any truth in your lies.
And now my heart stumbles on things I don’t know
My weakness I feel I must finally show.

In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die
And where you invest your love, you invest your life
In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die
And where you invest your love, you invest your life

Awake my soul
Awake my soul
For you were made to meet your Maker
(Mumford & Sons)

“I will sing and make melody.  Awake, my soul.”  Psalm 108:30