Originally posted on Facebook HERE
Welcome to a special edition of the “Looking Out My Back Window” series of posts. I think this is the first time that the usual Sunday blog has coincided with my recovery anniversary. That chip in the lower left hand corner of today’s photo represents thirty two years of sobriety for me. Thirty… two… years. I’m not even sure where to begin today, but it feels like I’ve lived two very separate and distinct lives in many ways – maybe even three. From birth to age 14 I guess it was a fairly typical Oshkosh, WI upbringing. I was a good student. And in 1974, at age 14 I started drinking and using drugs. Pot was easier to get than alcohol back then. Acid, speed, downers… all fair game. It was also the year I started playing bass, and by 1977 I had graduated high school and started playing in bands for a living. At age 17. Drinking age was 18 at the time, but if you were in the band they never seemed to question it. I basically used every day for fifteen years. I quit for good on November 1, 1988 at age 29. The full story is told in my book “Feed Your Angel” for those who might be interested. It’s incredible. But there were many times during that period where I felt severe self loathing and disgust. I questioned whether I wanted to live at all. I spent a night in jail after a DUI. Wow. I just… wow. That’s hard to admit now. But that’s where I was at. And through a crazy series of events, starting with that drunk driving change – I found myself in outpatient treatment and have been clean ever since. And sobriety for me, well – it’s made all the difference in the world. No way I’m where I’m at in life without getting clean first. I might not even be alive if I hadn’t sobered up. One of the things that has always stuck with me from my early days in treatment is this – my counselor said to the group one day (at least this is how I remember it – it was 32 years ago): “Think about where your life is at today. Where you live, what you do, how you treat people. How people see you. How you spend your time. Now, think about how you’d ideally like to live your life. How close are you to being the ideal version of yourself?”… and at that time where I was at and my ideal version of where I wanted to be were far, far, apart. Not even close. My life revolved around drinking. I had built walls all around me to keep people out. I was in no way being the best David Geschke I could be. So I decided to try living my life in a new way, and on that day I stayed sober. Then I did it again the next day, and the next. Two days, three days, one month… one year… five years… ten – twenty – thirty… thirty two. Thirty two years sober today. Very, very grateful for every second of every day. Thanks again to everyone who was there in the beginning and supported me when I needed it the most. And, if you’re reading this and thinking about how far away you are from your ideal life, why? What is the biggest factor that has led you to this point? For me it was super simple: drugs and alcohol. Cunning, baffling and powerful. For others it might be gambling, debt, sex, food – there are all kinds of addictions, and they often work together. Your past does not have to equal your future. You can change your life in an instant. The instant you decide to move in another direction. That instant, for me, was thirty two years ago now. And it has made all the difference in the world for me. Very humbled and grateful.