Fifteen Years – one day at a time

Fifteen Years

Today marks my sobriety anniversary. Fifteen years.

Hard to believe.

Fifteen years ago today, I walked into Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in LaFayette, NY and attended my first AA meeting. For two months before, I had struggled to quit drinking. And I couldn’t do it. I’d go a day, maybe two. Then I’d drink.

On October 4, 2003, I made a bet with myself. I bought an 18-pack of beer and decided if I could stop at one, I wouldn’t go to the meeting the next day.

When I came to in the morning, half the case was gone and the empties lined up on the kitchen counter.

So that evening, I dragged myself up the road to Saint Joe’s wishing to God I had stopped at one.

It was a week before the LaFayette Apple Festival where Saint Joe’s sells apple pies at a booth every year. And apparently, they spend the week beforehand baking them in the church kitchen.

So when I got out of my truck, the smell of baking apples was so powerful, even in the parking lot.

To this day, the smell of baking apple pie makes me think of my first AA meeting on October 5, 2003.

One of the things someone said to me at that meeting fifteen years ago was, “You don’t ever have to have a drink again.”

I remember at the time thinking, “Yeah. Maybe you don’t.”

The truth is, I didn’t think it would work – mostly because I couldn’t even fathom not drinking ever again. And I told a woman that after the meeting ended.

She said, “Don’t think of it that way. You just don’t have to drink today.”

And every morning afterward, I would wake up and say to myself, “Just don’t drink today.”

After fifteen years, I look back at the person I was when I was drinking and it’s almost as though I’m remembering someone else’s life.

It hasn’t always easy. But life isn’t supposed to be easy.

The difference is, I’m not making worse by picking up a drink.

I got through the death of my best friend sober.

I’m living with Lupus sober.

I struggle to make ends meet and pay my bills. But I’m doing it sober.

And despite the difficulties or the pain and sorrow that life might toss my way, I’ve learned to live with both the good and the bad by just not drinking today.

I had no earthly idea this was possible when I walked into that first meeting.

My sober life is a gift.

And it all began at Saint Joe’s fifteen years ago today.

I can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am.

So instead, I’ll just say a prayer of thanks and enjoy a slice of apple pie.

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27 thoughts on “Fifteen Years – one day at a time

  • October 5, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Congratulations, takes a lot of will power

    • October 5, 2018 at 1:28 pm

      I’m not sure will power has much to do with it. But certainly a Higher Power does.

      • October 6, 2018 at 2:06 am

        Indeed. Congrats from a 9 yr friend of Bill’s.

  • October 5, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Hi Dianny!


  • October 5, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Congratulations! You are a remarkable writer and I look forward everyday to reading your your posts. Thank you for your journey with AA that allows you to share your amazing talent with us.

    • October 6, 2018 at 7:05 am


  • October 5, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Congrats Dianny! It takes courage to fight that fight every day. My younger brother struggled with addiction and almost “offed” himself long ago. Then he found AA/NA. He’s been clean and sober for 30+ years. He still attends (leads) many meetings each week. Over the years I’ve joined in on several of his big anniversary meetings. I couldn’t understand it at first, thinking, why, after all these years do you still go? Finally I realized that part of it is the giving back & part is the daily reminder of what he could return to if he ever lets down his guard. But I think it’s mostly the incredibly non-judgmental, supportive environment where people will do just about anything to help sometimes total strangers keep their lives together. How powerful that must be. Here’s hoping you find the strength to keep on going for the rest of your life, one day at a time!

  • October 5, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Congratulations! And prayers for many more years. God bless.

  • October 5, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    All the best, my favorite writer

  • October 5, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    thank you for spotlighting this, my sobriety year was 1996,,,and yes, it still is “I don’t have to drink or do drugs today.” Bless you.

  • October 5, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    “..that part of it is the giving back…”

    I have donated 60 pints of blood the last 50 years for just that reason. I got someone else blood more than once 51 years go. I feel it is only right I give back!

  • October 5, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    And thanks to that day 15 years ago, we have had the pleasure of sharing your talents and insights. Way to go, Dianny!

  • October 5, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Congratulations Dianny, sweet surrender, eh? Hats off to Higher Power for mercy grace and humor. First time posting here. Love your writing and sense of the ridiculous.

  • October 5, 2018 at 6:38 pm


  • October 5, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    if you got up before 6 A.M., you have been sober longer than I have, because it’s (still) one day at a time for me. and on thanksgiving day it will be 36 years, something I am truly grateful for

  • October 5, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Congratulations! I had over 15 years once. Then, Hubby had quintuple by-pass. Any excuse, right? Working on the next 15.

  • October 5, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    This posting is a testament to your honesty and sincerety as a person. So very much appreciated, as is all of your incredible work. Here’s to another fifteen years Dianny.

  • October 5, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    I know I tell you this every year, but I’ll say it again. I’m proud of you.
    (And so is Corrine)

    • October 5, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks, Meli. I’m sure Corinne is. God rest her soul.

  • October 5, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    You’ve done well, Dianny. It’s good to know you’ve got the hang of it what with 15 years without a under your belt. Keep up the good work!

  • October 5, 2018 at 10:10 pm


    I’m just coming up on my 3 yr anniversary. Im lucky to be alive as i took it to the edge of the abyss….and looked in.

    Every Saturday I go to AA. I go for the brotherhood and to give back. I feel blessed with our members. Although we have different stories….there is a bond. No judgement ever. They all understand and are accepting.

  • October 5, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    Congrats. You’ve got one addiction by the tail. Next one? Sugar. It’s just as tough to kick but just as deadly as the drink.

    • October 5, 2018 at 11:03 pm

      In order to kick an addiction to sugar I’d have to become addicted to sugar first. And I’d rather not. I prefer avoiding sugar because I’m deathly afraid of going to the dentist.

  • October 6, 2018 at 12:48 am

    Congratulations on 15 years Dianny! I am a recent member of your fan club and enjoy very much your incredible writing and photo-shop art work. I am ever more impressed by your sincerity and willingness to share your life. I thank the Lord for steering my to your site and will pray for you to enjoy many more years “one day at a time”

  • October 6, 2018 at 10:37 am

    I offer my admiration and respect for 15 years of living life sober. Turning away from alcohol is not easy as it provides a place to hide from your own problems.

    You chose to square up and conquer those personal issues and at the same time managed to live life head on, taking whatever came and not try to drink the difficulty away. It takes guts to persevere through the process and as I am sure you and everybody knows, the challenge of staying sober never really goes away. You have to keep fighting to be sober every day.

    Well done!!!!!!

  • October 7, 2018 at 6:50 am

    You go girl.

    Love your site. We both share the same twisted sense of humor.

  • October 20, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    Congrats..the first day was the hardest..accepting powerless and unmanageable..heavy realization.

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