Today marks a special day for me because it was the beginning of when I truly began to learn how to allow myself to ask for love and support – and just as important – to receive love and support.
As turbulent and difficult this journey was, it was a critical part of building the foundation for me to have the relationships I have now and be in the lifestyle with my partner. In fact, I’m absolutely certain that if I wasn’t sober, I wouldn’t have my extraordinary wife, Jackie, be a part of my life today. So much gratitude.
Here’s how it started…
Thirty years ago today was the day when my life as I knew it would change dramatically.
I was sitting in an AA meeting, dishonestly telling the group I had been sober for 30 days, that I had my drinking problem licked.
I had just returned from a weekend trip to New York City where I don’t think I had been sober for even a minute. I had gone to New York on a Thursday night for an important job interview, which was to take place at 7 AM Friday morning.
When I arrived to the interview (late), I was still drunk and high from the night before. I hadn’t gone to bed yet from the night of partying. I was still wearing the same (now wrinkled) suit that I had put on the day before. I was sweating profusely…on the verge of getting sick…and I am pretty sure I smelled of booze and weed.
The interview lasted about a minute.
I went back to my room, got sick, and had another drink.
I was only attending AA meetings to satisfy the requirements of the court. If I didn’t stop drinking they would put me in jail. The threat of jail wasn’t enough to keep me from drinking though.
I didn’t think I had a problem with drinking…I had a problem with everyone that was in my life at that time and that’s why I drank.
As I sat in that meeting, as each person was sharing about the topic of the day – honesty – emotion was welling up inside of me. I don’t know where it came from or what was different about that day. When it came my turn to share I started sobbing uncontrollably as I honestly admitted to myself and to the group, for the first time, that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life was unmanageable.
I asked for help.
That day, 30 years ago, I surrendered.
I gave up.
I was completely beaten down and I just couldn’t do it anymore. It was the most difficult thing I had ever done…to admit I couldn’t do something without the help of others.
Writing this now I can still feel the power in that moment.
I am so grateful for the people that were there for me that day and all of the days in between then and now. I am grateful for the love, the hugs, the sharing in the joy and the sharing in the difficult times.
The times when I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the day, but with the help of others, I did. The days when I wasn’t able to stay in my self pity because someone else needed a hug to get through their day.
I am so grateful for being told I only had to be sober for one day at a time. I am incredibly grateful for every single person that has been a part of my life, the life long friends and the people that have only been there for a moment. The guys I have spent hours on the phone with and the guys in a meeting that shared something that resonated with me.
Thanks to all of you that have been there with me through our journey together…thanks to all of you that have helped me to become the man I am today.
Thank you for teaching me how to live and showing me how to love life to the fullest every single day…for that I am grateful.
And thank you for being part of my journey in relationships and life, my relationship with Jackie, and our relationship together with you on this incredible ride.
John and Jackie Melfi are married swingers and in an open relationship. They were featured in an ABC News Nightline special report “Getting ‘Naughty in N’Awlins’: Inside a New Orleans Swingers Convention” and are the force behind the industry famous colette swingers clubs in Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, and Austin and the award-winning blog Openlove101.com with over 20 years of combined experience in open relationships and coaching thousands of couples.