My last post was about a person that I know that seems to be trudging the same road I have been before I hit the bottom. That desperate crap black hole of deadness I was in before I was willing to “Throw in the towel,” “Wave the white flag,” submit and admit to powerlessness over alcohol and the unmanageability of my life.
An old friend of mine that I have spent many drinking and non-drinking hours with, just lost her Mom. Her Mom had a long term illness and my friend was a great family support in a journey that lasted several years. The family is a big catholic family, lots of kids and grandkids. The Mom still lived in the house my girlfriend grew up in. The wake and funeral was large, lots of people. And there is lots of stress in a family of 8 kids as you can imagine. Lots of laughs but lots of resentments, hurt feelings, etc.
A few months after I stopped drinking I noticed a few things about myself. Slowly senses that I never realized had dulled over the years were returning. At first they were quiet and in some cases they were loud. My emotions were first, mostly tears. I would well up when I would normally be able to seal it up and not cry. I found myself not getting angry so much it was expressing itself as loss and sadness, not frustration as it had before.
My sense of smell seemed to have come back and I had never realized that it had gone. I was noticing people with garlic breath and of course alcohol on their breath, like I never had before. My creativity has slowly returned and my need to vent it is becoming more and more apparent. These are things I seem to notice more and more, making me realize how long withdrawal symptoms can last and how fragile the recovery process can be.
Going through the receiving line around an open casket was sureal. My emotions were running high as I was thinking of my own mother and how grateful I was to have her in my life still. As I approached “the pack” of siblings several of them reeked of alcohol and a few of them of weed too. None of this should have surprised me, these are people I know well. Very well. I have partied with them over the years. It wasn’t the fact that they were still active, it was the fact that I could smell it so vividly, it repelled me. I felt like my Higher Power was reminding me of gift of sobriety by the stench of stale alcohol and pot. Whatever it was, it WAS and I stopped and thought about it for a minute.
Out of the Woodwork
At the funeral, several of our old friends showed up. I saw the look of recovery on a couple of them and the look of struggle on one or two. These are folks I have not seen in a couple of years and the difference in them from the last time I saw them was remarkable. Two friends I know have struggled for years and relapsed several times. They, like me, have retreated from the “old routines” and have obviously changed their lives. One of them in particular, looks so at peace with herself, I barely recognized her. Another on the other end of the spectrum, had to introduce himself to me, I did not recognize his bloated face and bloodshot eyes (the funeral was a 10am), but I did notice he disappeared halfway through the service and then reappear. If it were me, I would have gone to my car and gulped a coffee with a hefty shot of something and grabbed a tick tack on the way back. But it wasn’t me. Thank God. And I don’t honestly know it was him for sure either. I do know he is still active, I smelled it.
Who knew that I would have lots of items to list on my Gratitude List the night after the funeral? I am in no way “throwing stones” at anyone, I am just observing things I would have missed if I was still drinking. I am just feeling some growth and being thankful for it, in the meantime, concentrating on keeping my own side of the street clean.