This is a test. This is only a test…right?

This is a test. This station is conducting a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test.

Remember that? I have a revised version that I say aloud to myself when I’m really stressed. Stand back.

This is a test. This is only a test. If this was a real emergency, you’d already be dead.

Although it might be considered only an attempt at sick humor, it’s true for me. A real emergency for me comes down to my picking up a drink again and that would lead, inevitably to my death. Anything short of that and I’m still breathing… I have a chance of surviving, maybe a chance at restoring hope, even. Oh sure, I can imagine horrific events but as long as I don’t return to my addictive behavior… I have that chance.

My miracle is that while I’m a recovered alcoholic, I don’t have the compulsion to drink today. I don’t know about tomorrow, but not today. If I did drink, I would return to my former sick ways and sick thinking and destroy all the miraculous elements of the life that the 12 Steps and thus, my God, have blessed me with. Relapse happens. It happens to people who have abstained for decades and that’s what keeps me real about recovery. I try to apply the 12 Steps to my life daily. I fail; but I try.

Life is going to be throwing tests at me, at you, at everyone who still has a breath. It starts early, in fact. Life threw me tests, real and not-real, when I was too little to know if was just a test. These emergency announcements were beyond scary to me. I would hold my breath and wait. Is it really an emergency?

After the station broadcasted an alert tone for about 20 seconds, an announcement followed:

If this had been an actual emergency, the Attention Signal you just heard would have been followed by official information, news, or instructions.

The procedure was called the “EBS Stress Test”. I still have those… emergency stress tests. They aren’t broadcast over any station except mine, but they happen, nonetheless. I don’t still hold my breath… waiting. Is this a real emergency? Is this stress going to take me under, cause me to drink? No! I don’t plan to drink in the event of my emergencies  — even the real ones. I don’t have the compulsion to drink today, regardless of the stress in my life. For that I’m grateful. It’s not my own doing, it’s the product of living by the program.

I thank God for the 12 Steps daily. I will always have stress tests as long as I live but I do not have to wait for the official information, or instructions. I have that and they’re even numbered! I don’t need any news other than that. Thank God. OK. Breathing again.