Friday, September 23, 2005

The Legacy of an Alcoholic

I got a call the other night from someone that I didn't recognize on my caller ID. For some reason I picked up the phone anyway. It was the sister of an old friend (Missy) who died in 1998. We had a nice chat. I told her I think of Missy often and I told her how much Missy helped me. She paused and told me how much she appreciated me saying that because she feels like she can't even talk about her dead sister. People don't understand how she can mourn her own sister because Missy was such a mess.

She was afflicted with this terrible disease - alcoholism. When I was in my first couple of months of sobriety and felt that I needed to leave my husband, Missy took me and my children in. She let us live at her townhouse with her. I thought she was sober when she did that. Missy was not sober. She was far, far, far from sober. But she was able to share with me some of the mistakes she had made when she WAS sober. I have always remembered them. Her story has really stuck with me... she had stayed sober for 11 months and 3 weeks. She decided in her last week before her 1st anniversary that she wouldn't call anyone in AA just to see if they would call her. Well, they didn't call her, she got mad, she got drunk... she never got sober again... and she died a miserable death.

So, back to the present - I was able to tell her sister that Missy had helped me a lot, and that meant a lot to her sister. She called me back the next day to tell me that she had called her mother (Missy's mother) to tell her that she talked to me and I said that Missy had helped me. It seems that meant a lot to her mother too because no one has anything nice to say about Missy. I am just so blown away by the waste of a life that was so full of promise. She had everything at one time. She was intelligent, she was very attractive, she was funny as hell, she was kind-hearted. And yet, she left nothing but heartbreak for those who loved her. I can't even imagine what it must feel like to be her mother or sister and not even be able to talk about her because people don't understand how you can miss someone who was such a mess! I am glad I could at least tell them that Missy helped me. That is certainly not a big deal.

And from Missy's experience, I learned where self-defeating behaviors will get you - like trying to see if people will really call you. I have never "tested" the love of Alcoholics Anonymous. I don't want to mess with something that is so beautiful. I just try to see that my love is going outward and not check to see what is coming inward. And you know, there has never been a shortage of what love has come to me. I am so blessed.

If you are new in AA, please keep coming back. Give yourself a chance. As one of my old friends used to say "the best of everything is yours - one day at a time."


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this...I identify mostly with Missy....but today is a new day.

Jennifer said...

I love this post. I have been sober for just over a year and reaching out to people is the hardest thing I have ever done. I still don't do it except with my sponsor, one kind of spiritual advisor type of dear friend and an aquaintance from another recovery type of group I am in. In November tried what Missy did and noone called me, it still hurts, but thank God I didn't drink. I'm supposed to do all the calling, but who is supposed to call me? It doesn't make me feel very loved. I don't know how to handle that except to pray for my higher power to relieve me of the selfishness.