How Meetings Help Me Grieve
I started this blog one week ago because I wanted to publish the gems–the brightest, shiniest insights into the human condition that I have experienced in recovery. I was naive to think it a static thing, something I could will into existence by leaning back and gleaning the past. Recovery is not static; it is erratic. How could a recovery blog be any other way?
My longest friend in recovery was found dead yesterday. His father found him and called to inform me. He was 26 and about to enter a master’s program to teach English: a vocation we shared.
In the 36 hours since I heard the news, I have noticed bizarre trends in my behavior and thinking. A televised Corona sweating in hot sand brought my mind closer to a drink than it has been for years. My kids and wife start making me late to a meeting, and I begin to feel reckless, unhinged. Alone, I’m gunning it down the road, screaming and cursing.
I shared in a meeting tonight. I got as far as “he didn’t deserve to die” before I couldn’t go further. I could only mutter “this is a deadly disease” to close, which summarized what I had hoped to share on the topic, thinking that his death could save somebody else’s life in that room.
I wanted to share on. I wanted to explain just how much better than his disease he was; how when I met him, I didn’t believe he was an addict because he was so well put-together, so intelligent and compassionate. I wanted to share that this disease took a good man, in his prime, that I loathe it and hope no one else in the room would let it claim victory over their soul–to pray I never let it take mine. “This is a deadly disease” would have to suffice.
I don’t feel the way I do in a meeting anywhere else. A good friend of mine died in college; she never woke as the house she passed out in burned down. I drank away the news. But in sobriety, there is no drinking away the pain. I have no crutch to lean on. Were it not for recovery, I’d fall on my face–or further–into oblivion.
Meetings make me share what’s going on with me. They bring out the honesty in me. It’s like my mind has built an association with them, that I must be vulnerable to belong. And it helps. It was the first I cried for my friend. And when I left, the last thing I was thinking about was a drink or drug.