I May Not Have Another Recovery in Me … Reflections on Death
It has been a very sad twenty four hours. And I am conflicted.
Up front we must remember that:
- Never judge another human being, because you really don’t know the struggles they have.
- Tolerance for those with different struggles
- But for the grace of God, That could have been me.
- Every Life is sacred, and we should never take life lightly, or decide to end it prematurely.
I have always said, that if I drank again, I am not sure that I would have another recovery in me because I have used up all my chits. People are talking. And once again, we face the stigma of mental illness and the added struggles of addiction and alcoholism.
I wonder if he had a sponsor? I wonder who he was talking to, because in the end, he wasn’t talking to anyone but himself. And the pain must have been immense to decide to take his life while there were people in the house that could have stopped him.
Married folks usually sleep in the same bed. But they did not. And he went to bed alone, got up alone, and took his life alone.
I’ve seen friends with twenty or more years of sobriety go back out and drink again. For some, to drink was a conscious choice. They knew they were going to do it and they did.
And if they do that, the odds on return get slim, the more time you have.
Alcoholism is the disease that in hushed tones, speaks to us, ever so quietly, “come on, you know you want one, and yes, you can have one, it really isn’t a problem.”
One of my close friends of many years, suffered from breast cancer. Beat it, went through surgery, chemo, reconstruction and came out the other end and one night at dinner, she drank, and not only once, it went on and on.
For months I spoke to her daily, and she did not tell me she wanted to drink, nor that she HAD drank. And one night at a meeting, she got up and took a desire chip. I was so angry. Words were spoken, and our friendship died in that moment. I haven’t seen her since.
It is common to watch people with substantial sober time go out and drink again.
It is terrible and sad.
My sponsor told us and others at the meeting that if we had a sponsor, made use of them, we did not drink, and hit a meeting and worked our steps, that we would not drink today.
His line is very simple… If I did not drink today, it was a good day.
I have several truths.
- I suffer from depression
- I have lost love to suicide, so I know how that feels, and what it took for me to recover.
- I am an alcoholic, who by the grace of God, hasn’t had a drink in almost thirteen years.
- Suicide is NEVER the answer. No matter what.
When James killed himself in 1993, I was devastated. I was the one who went to the morgue to identify what was left of him due to decomposition. And it was his mother who said to me on the day I signed his remains to be transported home that “For the rest of my life, I hope that when you close your eyes before you go to sleep each night, you see his dead body.”
To this day, if I close my eyes, I can see him lying on that gurney DEAD.
You know what I did on the way home? I went to the bar and drank myself into oblivion. And I did that for days, weeks, a month. Until Todd and Bill stepped in and got me help. I sat in a survivors of suicide group for weeks and weeks.
I’ve seen trauma, I have watched my friends die on my watch. When I was diagnosed I needed serious help. I was suicidal. But there were active people in my life who were there to help me and get me the help I needed. I was not alone.
Why was there nobody who knew what was going on with him? Where was his wife, who was in the house, who did not check on him, and left him there.
People suffer from the “2000 pound phone syndrome.” Addicts, alcoholics and regular people just like you. We’d rather suffer in silence, than pick up that phone to ask for help, because nobody would understand what we are going through and if we are in pain, we do not speak that pain for fear of judgment.
So we suffer in silence.
That is why we go to meetings, we have sponsors and we take numbers.
So that you are no longer alone and that someone will care when you decide to call.
Hubby is Bi-Polar. I lived through his diagnosis. I lived through months of testing drugs until we found the mixture that worked. And I live with the man he is today, because I remember the man he was when I met him. And I was In it to Win It. I married him for all those reasons we speak in our vows. I live them every day of my life. He is never alone.
So we restate that when someone goes out and drinks again, after however long they are sober, the chances of them returning are very slim.
There is a gamut of feelings that take place when we go out.
- beating ones self up
- self loathing
I know I felt a number of these when I finally decided to come back. And it probably would have been worse, had I had a real chunk of sober time that I pissed away.
Which brings up another point. I know what was going on when I went out, and what mistakes I made with the decision to do what I did. TODAY, I know what happens when someone chooses to drink again. I am connected in ways I was never so connected, back in the day.
They say that we plan our slips. And there are only a few inches between us and that next drink. The space that lies between the bar top and our mouths. Just a reach away.
Addiction and alcoholism can be managed. But it takes someone willing to go to any length to stay sober. And even that is a slim proposition. I see people come in and warm a chair for months and months and then decide that a drink would feel better, and they drink again.
At some point we (read:Me) reaches out to a newcomer to get them connected to what they need to be doing so that they don’t have to make that decision. Once they are connected, the decision is already made for them.
I wonder what sober circles for celebrities looks like? Are they in it to Win It?
Depression, on top of addiction and alcoholism is a trifecta that can kill.
And it did. AGAIN.
Usually, when the pain gets so bad that you cannot see light at the end of the tunnel, and you decide to either (1) get help or (2) take your life … there are options.
Suicide is Never an option.
But when we get into that tunnel vision of “all about me” and that “nobody cares or would understand the pain I am in” or “I just can’t face life on life’s terms and I need to get out” how do we help you out of that darkness?
That is why, in sobriety, we are connected to the people we work with on a daily basis. And if professional help is necessary, we help you find those resources so that you can get better.
It is an affront to God to take ones life prematurely.
Only God should choose the time and place of our deaths.
Because when you die, there will be a ripple effect on the water that will flash all over the earth, to whatever extent as your star has risen. So many questions. Why didn’t we know, why didn’t you ask for help, we could have prevented this man from taking his life.
There is no shame, pain or problem, that brought out into the light of day that cannot be surmounted and conquered. There are ALWAYS options.
You don’t have to die to kill the pain.
Because you take a little piece of all of our hearts with you to the grave. And for that we will never be the same. The closer to the event horizon the worse.
We spoke of gratitude tonight.
- I am grateful for my sponsor, my friends, and my pigeons.
- I am grateful that I have all that I need
- I am grateful that I have the medication to take to keep living and be able to afford them
- I am grateful that I have not had a desire to drink
- I am grateful that there are people to call, and places to go so that I am not alone
- I never get to the point that suicide is ever an option.
You DO NOT have to die to kill the pain. There are always options.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is: 1-800-273-TALK.
If you think you have a problem with alcohol click: AA.org 24 hours a day.
Talk to someone, make that call. You are never alone.