As a young lad in recovery I received word that a childhood friend of mine, Marty, had been found in his vehicle, parked across the street from a drug house, a bullet through his brain.
By “young lad”, I mean young. I quit drinking and mind-altering drugs, the last time, at 22 years, three months, eleven days-old. I kept coming back.
A few years later I heard that my best friend from high school had died from an overdose. The two of us were virtually inseparable through much of middle school and high school. We played saxophones, he the tenor. I played alto. We were in a couple of high school rock bands together. Heroin. His dad, always viewed as disinterested by us, was crushed. Cancer had gotten his wife, my friend’s mom, a few years earlier.
I went to his funeral, and kept coming back.
Early in my first year of sobriety, an old-timer responded to something I shared in a meeting with one of the best one-liners I’ve ever heard in recovery – and there are a pile of one-liners in recovery; “Keep coming back, even if your ass falls off.” A friend of his chimed in, “and in the unlikely event your ass does fall off, put it in a bag and take it to a meeting. They’ll be able to show you how to put it back on.”
My friends, I love to write about cycling, good times, noodle salad, and being a fairly happy guy. That’s all skippy, as long as one thing remains clear; that amounts to a hill of shit without recovery – there is nothing without my recovery. No cycling, not good times, no noodle salad, no wife, no life, no kids, no house, no pets, no friends… none of it.
And to be very clear here, alcohol will not take all of the good from my life. I take responsibility for my addiction and recovery. Without recovery, I will give all of that good stuff up to stay drunk. It’s what we do.
I will keep coming back. Even if my ass falls off. As long as I do that, I’ve got a chance.