Monday, March 3, 2014


Jihad means 'struggle', and I interpret jihad in this sense as my personal struggle, my own private jihad, against alcohol, and to a lesser extent drugs.  In 12 step meetings, various lengths of abstinence are celebrated.  Continuous times of being sober/clean, total abstinence.   We generally give out poker chips, or tokens with the serenity prayer on front and some recovery slogan on the back. 

Generally, the colors have a meaning.  The poker chips symbolize that we are gambling with our lives.  The first chip, or token, for a beginner with only 24 hours sobriety or less, is a white chip.  White symbolizes 'surrender', like waving the white flag.

The chip for 30 days is generally green.  To symbolize the money we seem to have more of now, that we're not wasting it on alcohol, or drugs.

The toughest, hardest chip I ever earned was the 90 day red chip.  Red symbolizes the 'blood we've gotten back into our alcohol system.'   I got my first red chip on November 29, 1989.  It was the first time since I was 13 years old that I'd gone 90 days without drinking alcohol, and no drugs either.  It was a very very difficult time for me but also an incredible journey, considering how fucked up I was when I stopped on August 29, 1989, a totally wasted loser.   Only 3 months later, my mind had cleared enough to understand my classes in my last semester of college (actually a repeat from 1986's true last semester which the results were I failed all of my classes, I never went back to classes after Spring Break).  And so this was a big deal, the college professors who had given up on me were now showing a bit of respect, impressed at my mathematics senior board exam score, the 2nd highest that year, although I was only a math minor.  My major was physics, and I wrote an illustrated (with 4-D spacetime handdrawn diagrams) on "Cosmic Implications of General Relativity."  I also finally grasped a good understanding of quantum mechanics and particle physics.  3 months earlier, as the semester started, I could only show up and stare blankly at the chalk board during classes, my mind was totally foggy.  

Fast forward now to 2014, 25 years later, and I again got a 30 day chip tonight.  Unfortunately, due to too many to count relapses over the past 25 years, I've gotten several 30 day chips.  Enough to make a tambourine with, LOL.  I hope this is my last 30 day chip, and I hope I can stay sober/clean for the rest of my life.  The binge I was on in January, only 10 days long and only drinking wine, was severe enough to nearly kill me.  Even 4 days after my last drink, I almost collapsed at the health club and had to be taken by ambulance to the emergency room.  I was so poisoned by way too much alcohol.  My blood pressure taken in the ambulance was only 70/30.  Nearly dead.

So I will be on a lifelong jihad, living 24 hours at a time, praying each morning for the primary goal of staying sober.  I pray because ultimately rely on Allah to help me in this jihad against alcohol.  So far Allah has been listening to my prayers.  I pray for sobriety and for the knowledge of Allah's will, and the strength to carry out His will.

I pray to Allah to help me find the power within, and to free my imprisoned spirit.  I pray to Allah that I may keep my eye's trained above the horizon, so that I may complete this journey successfully.

InshAllah, MashAllah, Amen...

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