Still sober and still here

It has been over two weeks since I have stopped drinking now and my life has been full of activity so I have been able to edge out thoughts of drinking quite easily. I understand that this is not the experience of everyone who leaves drinking behind, but I put off quitting for quite a long time because I thought it was going to be this really challenging ordeal and it simply hasn’t been. I tell you this to perhaps give you the courage to give it a go.

I have just begun to read lately about the pathways in the brain that alcohol impairs and I am fairly certain that I should have had some pathways with some deep dependencies, so I am realistic in understanding that I am nowhere near “out of the woods,” but my word of the year is TRUTH and this is mine.

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I will be going to my annual scrapbook/paper crafting/ladies weekend at a local lake. We have been going away over the Martin Luther King Jr weekend for a number of years and this year we will be missing one of my best friends. We always car-pooled and bunked together. We were the introverts of the group so we had a bond, a connection. Both of us had been chronic “Type A” people and the last few years we talked a great deal about what really matters in this life, and it’s not being busy. It’s being present.

She just died in September after a battle with brain cancer which responded to treatment enough to give her years to live instead of the months that her initial prognosis indicated. While we were very close and our families celebrated birthdays, camped out and spent summer days together, our lives did not consist of the everyday routines as they had in the past when we taught at the same school and lived in close proximity. While I have certainly mourned, this will be the first trip where her absence will be palpable.

When she was being moved to hospice and I was rushing around trying to take photos of her from her scrapbooks to include in the memorial service video I put together, I felt a strong sense of shame. Here she was dying because of something completely out of her control, being “cheated” out of the second half of her life. She left an adoring husband and two boys, aged 15 and 13. Before dying she was trapped inside her mind and aware that her brain was shutting down and robbing this English teacher/reader of her words.

 Meanwhile, I was still inflicting damage to my perfectly “good” brain. I was shutting my own brain off, damaging it beyond repair…

I will always miss my friend and be forever grateful for the lessons she taught me right until the end.

Ah. There are those tears again…

One thought on “Still sober and still here

  1. I am so sorry to hear about your friend. I am sure she did teach you and others some deep and lasting lessons in life and in dying. Grace has a way of shining the light back on us. I know that sometimes I have regrets or worse, shame, which blows up in my hands and I feel numb and can’t see past my own growth. I often wish for the time I spent getting hammered to be returned to me, but that’s not how it works. What I can say though is that I got here when I needed to get here. I understand how you feel about drinking while your friend was dying – a sort of survivor’s guilt combined with a lash of reprimand toward yourself. I do that a lot when I see others not doing well or dying when I feel that I shouldn’t have “deserved” to live to do well even after my 25 years of slowly committing suicide.

    Regardless, we are here, and we are soaking up this second shot at life! Not many people live two lives in one life – what a gas! It’s not alway a blast, of course, but sometimes when I stand back and look at the big picture, it’s a pretty groovy sight 😉

    Thanks for your shares – I am enjoying your posts!

    Blessings
    Paul

    Liked by 1 person

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