December 28, 2001
Along For The Leap
First he told me that
his anniversary is on 'December 28th,' which would be five years ago
"Are you sure?" I asked
him, confused. "I always thought it was the 30th."
But he said nope, he's
sure that it's the 28th, he was there, remember? So
I fired off a message to all of my faithful Notify List people, urging
them to stop everything they're doing and drop him
a little note of congratulations today. (Although I managed
to scramble the announcement a bit, myself: I reported incorrectly
it's been six years, when it's actually been five. It wasn't until the
middle of the night last night as I was laying in bed doing the math
that I realized I'm off by a year, but by that time
mailbox was already beginning to fill with "Way to go!" messages from
Then this morning, as
we were driving to work, he suddenly remembered that it was 'the Monday
"I went off on a bender,
the day after Christmas 1996," he recalled. His voice dropped a
molecule or two in volume, as he described a horrific final
vodka-and-chat-room binge that lasted for days. The following Monday
morning, he said, he woke up ... physically shredded,
wrecked, feeling that his whole life had become unmanageable ...
checked himself into rehab.
Which would make his
sobriety anniversary on the 30th, not the 28th.
Oh well. The exact date
doesn't matter, anyway ... not unless you're one of those anal
retentive anniversary freaks who feels compelled to mark every life
event, big or small, signigicant or insignificant, triumphant or
trivial, with bouquets and banner ads and huge rambling journal entries
her website. The important thing is that he got sober. He woke up on
that Monday morning, after a final dysfunctional weekend, and he made
the decision to quit doing stuff that was killing him.
And five years later he's
managed to stay
that way. Plus he's helped a few other people get there, too, along the
way. (Like me.)
Recovery is different
for everybody. David and I are a perfect example of this. His was a
classic, controlled, twelve-step rehab; mine was me vomiting alone into
a metal wastebasket. He had the hands-on support of medical
professionals and family; I had Next Door Neighbor Dog, watching me
haul that last bag of empties to the dumpster. But the one thing David
and I have in common -- not only with each other, but with every other
recovering addict in the history of recovering addicts -- is our
willingness to close our eyes, hold our nose and yell "Geronimo!" as we
pitch ourselves over the precipice, hurtling towards who-knows-what
waits for us at the bottom. Salvation? Or solid rock?
That leap of faith is pretty much what recovery is all about.
And taking other people
along for the leap is pretty much what
is all about.
throw a rock