And so is Recovery
Photo by Goashape on Unsplash https://tinyurl.com/y4anvp5h
I caught up with an old friend today who was in town. We talked for over two hours in a diner.
I’ve known him since the 2nd grade, and we had played sports together, partied together, and hung out listening to music, throwing frisbee, and shooting hoops. Neighbors, we spent a lot of time at each other’s homes.
We both moved out of our hometown, and didn’t see each other often over the years. But we did keep in touch.
I sent him an email a while back telling him that I’d gotten sober, and a bit about how bad it had gotten for me.
As we caught up on each other’s families, it came to light that his older brother died of alcoholism recently. He struggled to keep it hidden, and he withdrew, and he eventually succumbed to it.
And one of my friend’s sons is now clean after a bunch of trips in and out of rehab, a harrowing stretch. He survived and now is doing well and working as a counselor in a treatment center.
We also spoke of one of our friends who was the best athlete at our school, a basketball player. We grew up playing football, baseball, and basketball with him, and he led our high school team to the state championship and played four years on a college scholarship in Division 1. He was a straight-A student and he could not be tempted into drinking even one beer during the high school days.
He subsequently went down a horrible path with drugs and alcohol, living on the streets for years, in and out of shelters.
He’s also clean now, I’m happy to report.
t’s striking to meet up with an old friend who grew out of the party scene and now has an occasional drink, someone without an alcohol problem.
Yet alcoholism/addiction is so present and pervasive. A brother who died from it, and a son who suffered with it.
And our friend Stu - what a guy! My friend was on his Little League team, and we faced each other in our local Little League World Series. We were then teammates for years after that, and I caught Stu who was a hell of a pitcher and hitter. We played football until junior year when he gave it up to focus on basketball.
We admired him and played with and against him and we rooted like hell for him throughout the state playoffs and took a road trip to see the final four in Hershey, PA. He was brilliant, and our team won.
And he went from that shining kid to being a junkie on the street. I can’t even imagine him in that state. I feel for him when I think about it.
Again, it is striking how close alcoholism/addicition hits home, or at least nearby.
Some of us get struck with the overpowering compulsion to use and to drink and to never stop. It’s baffling to those without the addiction, but if you’ve got it, it’s as natural as breathing.
I hope we can continue to see it and to bring compassion to all those that suffer, both the alcoholic/addicts and all those that love them.
It must be near you, somewhere. If not, you’re a fortunate and rare person.
Rest in Peace to Jon. And to my friend's son, and to Stu - stay clean and sober, whatever it takes.