Winning the Lottery

Today I was feeling desperate for a retirement plan, so I bought a lotto ticket for the 550 million power ball. My uncle always says it’s the poor man’s retirement plan, and I’m definitely on that plan.

It made me start thinking, what would I do with the 335 million cash payout. What kind of person would I become. Would I change for the better, the worse, would I ever feel the need to get out of my bed except to go from one exotic local to the next in five star comfort…

I think a lot about helping other people,  but I don’t know how I could. As someone who   battles addiction and the scars that come with it, I naturally want to help people like me. But how?

One of the 12 step sayings is attraction not promotion. At first I wondered exactly what they were talking about. I couldn’t imagine people being like, oooh, not drinking, that seems awesome! But they do. They watch from afar. And near.

I get text messages and Facebook messages and stopped at the grocery store and talked to in the carpool line. People are watching. I get, hey, I love your attitude with your ankle monitor, I’m really proud of you. Or, hey, good to see you haven’t lost your since of humor. And it’s nice. And always a bit surprising. I forget people are watching.  Because I’m just living. One day at a time. Yep. The total cliche. Somedays I don’t know if I’m going to make it. Some days I want to sit in a puddle on the floor and not get up. Sometimes I stay in that heap for awhile.

And somedays I laugh. And enjoy sunrises and sunsets. And work on the spiritual journey we’re all working on. I marvel at the creator I call God and what he does for me on a daily basis. He shows up. Over and over again. When I don’t feel I deserve it. You can call it God. You can call it a higher power. You can call it King of the Cheeto’s and Candyland, it’s all the same to me.

Call it a coincidence, call it whatever you want, but when I have been desperate, and gotten on my knees thinking all was lost, he shows up to remind me he has me, and he’s not going to let me down. I have to do my part too, I can’t just lie in bed begging for a 100k job to fall in my lap or to win the lotto, but when I do my part… miracles happen.

I was reminded of this the first time when I was in court for my felony DWI. My attorney had already warned me I drew the worst judge. And she was handing out jail time left and right that morning. For things like, a little bit of pot. I had a felony DWI. Let’s be honest, I had a felony DWI and a little bit of pot.

My sponsor had told me to go to the bathroom and get on my knees and pray. That even if I didn’t believe, just do it. And I did.

Right before the judge called my name she was madly reading through papers. Banging away on her computer. I wondered what on earth she was doing, when suddenly she called my name. My attorney warned me to be prepared to do a week or two in jail. He also told me not to cry, which, is practically impossible for me, but I was somehow managing. My stomach was doing back flips and I felt like I might die at any moment, but I was managing. Barely.

“Mrs. Matthews?”

“Yes judge,” I meekly replied.

She went on to tell me that she had been going over my case and she could tell I had had  a bad year.

I nodded.

She went on to tell me that she didn’t need to lecture or scold me because I knew what I had done, and I knew it was wrong.

More nodding.

And she sentenced me to 96 hours of community service and four years probation.

I felt like I saw Jesus walk on water in front of me. And yet, months later I continued to screw up. Continued to push the boundaries. I begin to wonder if I would ever learn.

Slowly. I’m starting too. Change is not easy. It’s difficult and uncomfortable and it sucks. But I’m doing it. Little by little.

Flash forward to two weeks ago and almost 10 months of consecutively not drinking. I get a letter in the mail saying my car insurance was going up from $386 to $815 a month. Now… my ankle monitor is $379/month, breathalyzer $65/month, special DWI SR22 insurance, $85/month. Court cost $210/month. Being a felon is not cheap. Throw in weekly random drug test… This shit adds up. And I don’t have the ability to afford $815/month for one of my insurances. My insurance company told me to call Progressive and Geico.

And I did. And was denied. I called 23 insurance companies. Do you know how long it takes to call 23 insurance companies and explain that you are a bad driver even sober? I had two wrecks in two weeks in July. Both my fault. One leaving an AA meeting. I am easily distracted. And working on that.

It came down to I was going to have to give up my license last Friday. It’s not like I could scam the system, I have to show insurance to the people at my breathalyzers. And to keep my occupational drivers license. And I have a camera in my car that records every time I start the car, so it’s not like I could be all, oh, I’m not driving… no.

I was in a full blown panic. I needed my license. And every place I called either denied my or said it would be between $700-1000/month.

I got home from an AA meeting and I got on my knees. I had one number left to call. I prayed to God, I ask for help. I was doing the right things. Not drinking. Not doing drugs. I was taking any job I could get and grateful for it. Please, I begged, please don’t take driving from me. I’m trying as hard as I can to do better.

I got up and called the last number. And they took me. And they charged me $236/month, $150 less than what I was paying.

Coincidence? Maybe to you. I know that was God saying, I got you. I show up and I’m here for you. Keep doing the right thing. I know you want a better job. Keep being grateful for the one you have and we’ll see what happens. Do your part. Show up. Do your best.  Stay out of self pity because you aren’t changing the past and you don’t know what the future has in store. Keep going. Don’t ever give up.

And it keeps me going.

I’m probably not going to win the lottery. Although… I did my part and bought my ticket.

So how can I help those still suffering? I can listen when they reach out. I can share my story, and I can let them watch. Near or far. Attraction not promotion. I was a mess. My life was an absolute train wreck. Somedays it still is. But as long as I don’t drink, and do my part, I can pretty much guarentee I’ll be following asleep in my bed and not Tarrant Or Travis County’s.

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