Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sobriety 101


There are just so many things to lose.

There are just so many ways to lose them.

My past, is peopled, with memories of those who are gone, those who left, those I pushed away. This means, of course, the my past is also peopled with regret, populated by sorrow, and inhabited by grief. Sunshine makes the shadows, I have grown to realize, so when I see one, I need to be aware of the other. Even so, there are so many ways to lose people.

The hardest to bear, for me, are the people who are stolen from me, kicking and screaming, still alive. I deserve the pain of those I hurt and who ran, or those who hurt me and I reacted with an unforgiving heart. But today, a small miracle. Someone living, came back from the dead.

We were having lunch, in the fall sunshine, on a patio not far from home. I was on the phone talking about a fairly serious issue at work. A fellow loped over to us, a smile spreading across his face. He was casually, but well, dressed, I thought, 'what is life throwing at us now?' Joe stood, immediately upon seeing him and smiled just as broadly, I looked again. It had been years, but here stood a friend, a long ago friend, a friend who had been stolen from us.

They stepped aside to talk as I concentrated, with great effort, on the phone call. I had to think and make decisions, hard to do with my heart beating rapidly. But off the phone, I motioned them back. He sat down, waved away the waitress offering food and drink, and said, '101 days, boys, 101 days clean.' Then we chatted. We caught up on what he was doing and how he was doing it. He was confident that this time he had the motivation and the attitude right. He'd gone off it all, drugs, alcohol, tobacco ... all of it. He's been through several life stressors, as if life was testing his resolve, and managed to handle it without blunting reality. As he spoke I remembered back to the days before, before the grip of addiction had him, I remembered the bright and lively person he was.

He was back.

He's been back.

For 101 days. he's taken a stick and beaten his demons into retreat.

For 101 days, he's taken hold of his courage and held firm.

For 101 days, he's take the 're' out of 'lapse'.

101 days, he's lived in the world again. And on the hundred and first day he chose to walk down the street where we were having lunch. He greeted us with such warmth. He didn't want to talk about the old days, he wanted to talk about the new ones.

The ones that followed the hundred and first.

No, he's not Lazarus, but the miracle is just as great.

To me it is.


Baba Yaga said...

Wonderful. Good luck to him for the next 101 days, and all those which follow.

Kristin said...

Sobriety is a blessing, a miracle, and a hell of a lot of hard work. So very glad your friend is back.

Belinda said...

Wow, a great big sigh of happiness for "him" and you.

What a gift. And thank you for sharing the gift so that we could unwrap it in all of its beautiful packaging and enjoy the celebration with you. said...

Another story of hope to hang onto.

rickismom said...

definately NOT an exageration