Last Friday we lost another friend to this damn disease. Her death was sudden and totally unexpected. I have been sitting on my pain and disbelief for a few days now, trying to sort it all out in my head, and it’s still not making any sense.
So I write.
I am not sure what will come out on this page, but I hope if anything, it will inspire someone struggling to dig in their heels just a bit harder, fight through it just a bit longer, and when feeling like giving up, don’t!
I feel so stunned by the sudden absence of this great person with a huge heart and a smile that would light up the entire room. I have feelings of deep sadness and anger as well as glimpses of happy memories. The world feels especially rough right now. My dear friend is gone, yet people are still going out and getting their mail every day, cars are going by, business as usual everywhere. This is hard because in a hugely selfish way I want everyone to see my pain.
This is not the first person that I have seen succumbed to an addiction of some kind, and I am sure it is not the last. We lost a friend last November, who left a wife and a young daughter. Yet this one really hits home. Is it because she was a mom? Is it because she lost a child to addiction too? Is it because she was also struggling for years like I did? Is it because her kind heart was always open to help others? I don’t know.
I don’t understand it all, and I no longer wonder why them and not me – I don’t think that I will ever know that answer, but I do recognize that it could have been me, it could have been any one of us. So, I have to focus on being more grateful, more empowered, more helpful to others, and even more diligent in my journey. I know this disease all too well by now; I don’t trust it one bit, I don’t minimize its strength, and I know that I always have to stay one step ahead of it.
The first time I felt this type of pain was when my mom died 2 years ago. I was 3 years sober. I thought I would definitely end up drinking. I couldn’t fathom the idea of going thru this kind of pain sober. This was definitely that one time I thought that it was going to be totally acceptable to drink! But somehow the anger in me wouldn’t let me drink. I just couldn’t let it beat me down. And it scared me; I know the angry and pain filled drinking all too well!
It took my mom about 2 months to pass away after her final diagnosis. Each day seemed so very slow and treacherous. I carried (what I called) the bawling ball in the pit of my stomach every day, waiting, anticipating, getting prepared. Then, still sober, I watched my mom take her very last breath.
My world fell apart that day. Yet sobriety felt like my security blanket. I was no longer willing to depend on the drink for the phony comfort! I was no longer willing to go through this in isolation and self-pity. So, completely against my standard way of dealing, I immersed myself in meetings, fellowship and friends. For the first time I finally understood why recovery support was so crucial – when my world fell apart, I had people who carried me and helped me to get through it. They were there every day, telling me that it was going to be OK, that I was going to be OK, and that I could do this sober. And I just believed!
And here again, I find a helping hand, a hug, a call, a text. As simple hello that means so very much. That makes me feel not alone. That makes me feel human. That brightens my day and helps me stay sober another 24 hours.
I met with a bunch of sober women today, who all knew our dear friend. We cried and laughed and cried some more. But most importantly we were sober, realizing once again that we can get thru this painful experience without alcohol!
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