Sunday, August 22, 2010

Don't Drink

This is a story that probably shouldn't be shared on a blog. But, as I frequently do, I will share it anyway. I will try to be as respectful as I possibly can be...

I woke up this morning and checked my e-mail first thing. I do that. I saw a name in my inbox and was immediately happy - someone I haven't heard from for a couple of weeks, as far as I know no one had. She is a chronic relapser, someone who seemingly cannot or will not get sober. She is also someone who everyone cares about. She has not managed to alienate people the way most chronic relapsers do.

But then I opened the e-mail and saw it was a letter addressed to her lawyer, her sponsor, and me. It started by saying "I have decided to take my life." Knowing her as I do, I believed her. I tried to call her but it went straight to voice mail, and a full mailbox. I e-mailed her, but that didn't feel sufficient. I had no idea where she was. It was only 5:30 in the morning. I had no idea what to do. I prayed, I cried, I pleaded with God.

I went to church as I had planned. I called my friend, her sponsor, the other recipient of the letter - but she didn't answer. Then I went to a meeting. It was my friend's 32nd birthday. 32 years of continuous sobriety. I sat down across the room from him, looked at him and started to cry. I cried through the whole meeting. I remember when he was sober ten or so years and was having a breakdown of some sort. He came to meetings and cried and since he was new to the area and we didn't know him, we thought he was a new guy and we took care of him as such. He just let us because he knew he was screwed without our help. It took a while for him to get the nerve to tell us how long he had been sober. I remember the day his son died of AIDS, and he came to the meeting. He told us that he had died. We all observed several minutes of silence - most of us crying. I remember when he had a stroke and his rehab from that. I remember his fights with people and then how they made up. The controversies. One morning when a young woman wanted to beat both of us up - we had really pissed her off! And through all of that, he stayed sober. He never took a drink. And today he got to celebrate 32 years.

After the meeting - which restored my faith in humanity and sobriety - my suicidal friend's sponsor called me back. She knew who to call to find out or be able to make an educated guess as to where the woman was. She took the action of calling 911 and getting the police to find her. I really didn't think the police would do that. They did. And thank God.

She would have died otherwise. She is now in the hospital. Her life was saved by the action of her sponsor, my friend. She is not conscious and she is on a vent, but her prognosis is good.

I pray for her every day. Along with a bunch of other people (including a blogger or two). I will continue to pray. It seems like a small thing, but it is what I can do - and I know there is power in it.

I am completely exhausted from this day. I am so sad that this beautiful woman came to this desperate decision on a beautiful Sunday morning. But I am grateful that she reached out to the right person who was able to help her. I am also grateful that she is alive because wherever there is life, there is hope.

My 32 year sober friend today told a story during the meeting. He told of 3 men who came to AA and after 3 months or so they were all three out drinking again. He ran into all three of them in different places and asked them what happened. All three of them told him that AA didn't work for them. They said they did what they were told to do. They had gotten sponsors. They came to meetings, they read the big book. My friend asked them if anyone had told them not to drink - and they looked at him with that blank look because apparently no one had. That seems silly, but maybe we don't tell people not to drink. It seems too obvious.

Hey, don't drink, OK?


Syd said...

Thank God the woman is going to be okay. There have been too many suicides and deaths within the past year. I am glad that she isn't another statistic or that she isn't someone who you or others wished could have been helped before taking their life. Maybe she will now decide to live, really live. I hope so.

Linda Myers said...

Okay, I won't, just for today. You do the same!

Imperfectly Healing said...

Thank you for sharing...and a sincere thank you for the reminder to not drink. Sometimes it's the simple reminders that are overlooked.

Kelly said...

God at work again. What a day of big miracles.

shadowlands said...

What fragile creatures we are. I will pray for your friend, as it could easily be me, in the not too distant past. (or future, if I drink ofcourse).

I had a weird dream last night, I dreamed I found cooking whisky (do they do cooking whisky?) and poured it over some food that I was serving to guests. I offered a man some ( dunno who he was) and he said "No, we're all non-drinkers, don't let them see that!" Then we put a tea cosy over the alcohol soaked food to hide it. I then became worried that people would think I was drinking and couldn't understand why I had just done what I'd done.

Imagine, getting confused by your behaviour in your dreams?

I've got to go to the dentist today, after counselling. I am so scared of dentists, even in my middle age!

Anonymous said...

I hope she will now get the help she needs. I recently lost a friend who had been stuggling with staying sober. No one knew what she had been planning. She chose a more effective method and it worked....permanently.
I will stay sober today Mary, and I will reach out to the alcoholic who is struggling.

Scott said...

Thank God she has friends like you and her sponsor. I pray that someday she will arrive at a place where she is able to thank you as well!

Don't drink, that's where it all begins! God Bless!

Simon said...

Wow...powerful stuff that. Thanks for the share, you are all in my prayers. Simon

Anonymous said...

Think you're right! Again, the old "keep it simple" concept.
If I don't take that first drink, I won't get drunk.
Nothing so bad that a drink won't make it worse.
Don't drink, no matter what!!
Thanks for reminding us.

steveroni said...

Thank you for this post which includes the reality of darkness, brightness...and truth.

A thoughtful message. I will tell someone today--don't drink.

that girl said...

i am so happy to hear that your friend is okay. i will pray that it continues and that she gains the strength to quit.

marie said...

I will pray for your friend, too. I was just talking to a chronic relapser last week who goes to meetings regularly. I told her it is never going to work until she stops drinking. She's not ready to do the work of the steps, unfortunately.

Nimrod Saar said...

I don't think its obvious that alcoholics will come not drunk to a meeting. it's not obvious to them because they need the help the most when they are drunk and all the emotions come out. maybe they can be supported by phone or such things but they also need to share and we must listen to them too.

Mary Christine said...

Nimrod, apparently you didn't read this post. I didn't say a word about a person not being able to come to a meeting drunk.

But I guess if you are just trying to push your book "the alcoholism cure" you don't need to read something to post an ignorant comment on it.

Sorry, I am not in the mood.