I went tonight to visit my friend who has barely escaped with her life from a suicide attempt. I don't know if there will be lasting impairment. I know it was shocking to see her. Absolutely shocking. And I was expecting to be shocked. Thank God my friend was with me and we stood outside the hospital for a while and processed. And then we just talked. And after a while we laughed about other things. Not much though. I thought about the fact that I was standing at the door I walked in over 17 years ago for my first job in healthcare. I loved that job - for its purpose. I have a special place in my heart for that hospital.
Metablog note: Usually this blog is written for a stray reader who may be looking for info about sober life. The last day or so, this blog is written for me. I am seriously in need of processing all this stuff.
Mostly I am just thinking about my friend. She looks about as close to death as a 40 something year old woman should ever look. We forget that alcoholism is just as lethal as cancer or heart disease. We like to think it is willful, I think it helps us to feel safe. I know that she has come to meetings, more meetings than most. I know she has a sponsor. I know she has worked the steps. I know she has been more motivated to stay sober than probably 90% of the sober people I know in AA. And yet, tonight she is at death's door, hooked up to every sort of tube and cable, her skin and bones barely covered with tangled hospital gowns. I know that there is a guard at her door. (I also know the guard because he has done work at my hospital.) I can't help but remember her as she was a couple of years ago. Still living in a very lovely and quite expensive home with her husband and children. She had a very good job. She was a very good athlete - and always wore shorts and athletic apparel. Always laughed. A nervous laugh. She is a very lovable woman. She has lost all of that in the last year or so. And almost lost her life.
If it is a comfort to you, you may believe that you have done some kind of magical "work" that will ensure your sobriety. I don't indulge in that kind of thinking. I subscribe to belief in the Grace of God. I don't understand it. I know I screwed up most everything I touched, particularly early in sobriety. I didn't do anything right. I was more interested in men than steps, I was more invested in my job than meetings, I was hateful and superior towards most of the people in AA - until I was brought to my knees. But somehow I didn't drink, and I didn't die. I will not boast about that, or feel superior because of the "work" I did. That is utter crap.
I lived long enough to get a chance to actually practice these principles. I got to do the stuff you are supposed to do after a time. I don't call it "work," it was a blessing to me. I was blessed to stay sober and live long enough to actually come to value my life and my sobriety. I cherish both of them today. But I believe that is a gift from God, because I could not manufacture it for myself.
I stopped at church on my way home from the hospital. I took the photo of the church candles. They were all taken, none were available for me to light tonight. That is OK. Somehow to me, my photo of the candles captures all of them to send up for my friend. I sat in the silent church with the other silent pray-ers, it was such a comfort to me. I pulled my rosary beads out of my purse and said a rosary for my friend. She probably doesn't care that I do this, but I do.
Tomorrow is the funeral of another friend. He died on the golf course, sober 37 years. His funeral will be full to overflowing. I am too busy at work to take 3 hours off in the middle of the day tomorrow. I would have loved to go. It would have been nice, as far as funerals go. But, like I said, it will be full to overflowing. There is a woman who no one wants to see, and I can go see her. Somehow, I think that is more important right now.
Sorry to go on and on like this. Somehow this has just taken the wind out of my sails. I am just so sad. Her mother's name was Mary. She died of alcoholism.
I better go to bed. I have crossed the line