Back in 1991, when I was 60 days sober I moved to San Francisco. As destiny would have it the International Convention of Young People in AA (ICYPAA) was having its annual conference in my new hometown. I went to the sobriety countdown in the infamous Bill Graham Civic Center and there I sat amidst 7,500 amped up sober people.
At that time AA was 56 years old, so the organizers started the countdown from the stage by asking if there was anyone in the audience who was 56 years sober. No one answered. They then asked if there was anyone who has 55 years sober. No one answered.
When they next asked if anyone had 54 years sober, an old Irish gentlemen in a classic tweed cap, old maroon sweater and an overcoat stood up with the assistance of a cane and began to march his way up to the stage. The eruption of cheers at that moment will go down as one of the biggest explosions of enthusiasm I have ever seen, and that's saying a lot for someone who used to go see The Grateful Dead (in the very same building by the way). The energy was just epic.
When he got to the stage a few folks went to assist him up the stairs only to be rebuffed as he literally batted them away with his cane. His first words said it all: "As I look out in this audience today, I'm amazed to see how many people have the fucking guts to stay sober in this day and age." There was a split of a split second of silence and then another eruption of glee and joy and pride for the fact that we were all indeed courageous to walk this path.
Well starting this Monday from October 6 through 20, the rest of the United States is being given an opportunity to walk this same courageous path. My dear friend and winner of Survivor: Micronesia, Parvati Shallow, is spearheading #14DAYS on the Wagon over at CBSNews.com. Here is what Parvati has to say about the campaign which includes interviews everyday with addiction and recovery experts including Dr. Drew, Nikki Myers, Nick Ortner, Mastin Kipp, Gabrielle Bernstein and Tommy Rosen (me).
Click here to watch the #14Days on the Wagon announcement.
So spread the word, challenge your friends and family to go on the wagon for #14DAYS and be in solidarity with those of us who walk this path perhaps first out of necessity, but then hopefully out of love. Share your tweets, posts and photos by using hashtag #14DAYS.