Monday morning is never a great time for me, I wake up early to get my kids ready for school and I am not nice until I have at least one cigarette and 2 cups of coffee. They might tell you it's two cigs and one coffee, but if they said that to me in the morning, it would start a fight! Every day, I check my email, read a devotional and say prayers, sometimes short, sometimes long, mostly thanking God I woke up today and asking him to help me stay sober and do his will, not mine. I have bad will, so his is a better way to go than mine. People who know me can attest to my track record- my will is selfish and chaotic. His isn't.
At 7:30, my oldest catches the bus and, after numerous checks of teeth brushing and backpack inventory, I have the rest of the day to get my to do list done and hang out with my daughter. There's usually a grocery trip or a project involved, FB'ing, phone calls, appointments, whatever. You know, I'm a busy mom. I have a sewing business. I'm in a band. I spend a lot of time being focused on tasks and checking them off the list. In between all of that, I am learning how to live my life without drinking alcohol and taking drugs.
My sober life is so much different than the life I lived before.
Almost four years ago, I was addicted to heroin and my kids lived with their grandparents. Rehab stays every six months had become routine and I couldn't get out of bed without the reality of my habit controlling everything I did. My friends had tired of me, my family was broken and I was trying to escape a lifetime of living with my narcissistic, selfish self by drowning inside.
This Monday morning, I got some devastating news. Heartbreaking news. The kind of news that makes you throw up and scream at the same time. The kind I haven't gotten in quite awhile.
About 5 months ago, I ran into an old friend at Mayday. I saw him from across the room, sitting by the fire outside. Bones was always handsome and sweet, with a grin that could light up a room. Mischievous eyes, dry wit humor, I related to him the first time we met. Over the years, he had gotten tattooed from the neck on down. When we lived in side by side rooms, I remember discovering new ones I hadn't seen before.
I walked over to where he was sitting, a little trepidacious at first. When you drink like I did and do things like I did, I am never really sure if I'll be welcomed with hugs and love or spit and punches- I have learned it can go either way. Hoping for the best, I approached him. Looking up at me, he gave the biggest smile and a sweep me off my feet hug!
We talked for a bit, catching up about his travels, my kids and how his dog, Shady was doing. We smiled and laughed and exchanged phone numbers. We promised to get together soon.
When I spend time with someone, staying up late nights and talking, building a friendship over years, I often wonder if I am delusional about my feelings. I mean, I am delusional about a lot of things. I wonder if I build things up in my head and sometimes, the reality is, I have. I am happy I am not always so delusional when it comes to my friends.
Over the next couple of weeks, we talked on the phone, we met up at shows and by chance, we'd see each other. Always warm and familiar, like the Converse I have been wearing for many years, he'd ask me about being sober and tell me about his struggles with not drinking. I listened because I am his friend. I shared what had happened in my life since he had been out west to get me to a place where sobriety seemed like not only the best option, but the only one. He would call me before he drank and, sometimes, after.
Some nights, when it was really late, I didn't answer.
Other nights, I did.
I was at the tavern for a rock n roll show a few weeks ago and ran into him, drinking coffee and looking a little rough. Surprised to see him with a coffee in his hands, our greeting quickly followed with talk about AA and not drinking. I told him I had been praying for him and he thanked me. Then he did something he has never done before. He told me he was so proud of me and thanked me for being friends. He told me he understood the nights I didn't answer. I told him I love you and he said I love you, too. We'd shared some pretty intimate moments before, but none compare to this brief exchange. I felt a little teary. I introduced him to some of my friends. He laughed when I called him David and corrected me with "don't tell them my name is David, tell them it is Bones".
Sometime Sunday night, Bones had some trouble brewing. True to his character, he drank a little too much, he defended a friend and he got himself into some trouble.
The difference this time is that the trouble was bigger and with really bad people. Whatever happened that night, only they know. The result is that my friend of a lifetime died.
Today, I cried for a long time. I looked at pictures and talked to old friends and remembered who Bones is and why he is so loved. It felt good, it felt sad.
I know the pain and the heartbreak I feel today will subside a little over time.
Keep sharing those memories and stay positive.
I am the luckiest girl in the world. I have beautiful friends, some whom I have spent a lifetime with and others I am just meeting.
I love every single one of you and I don't want a day to go by when I don't tell you.
I'm glad I got to tell Bones.