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.

17 Responses to “How Meetings Help Me Grieve

  • Oh I’m so sorry about your friend. Those losses are like a sucker punch to the gut. I am not an addict in the traditional sense. Ha! I am the daughter, grand daughter, niece, sister and saddest of all, the mother of an addict. So I have spent most of my adult life learning about addiction, how to recover from its affects on my life, and how to stay connected and love my family unconditionally without jumping head long into the crazy parts. One thing I have heard repeatedly is that early recovery is like walking around in public, naked, with your nerve endings exposed. Day by day we learn how to look at, deal with, and walk through the parts of life that scare us or hurt. It’s terrifying in the beginning, but in time, we begin to feel more free than we have ever known. I’m so glad you have your meetings and the miracles that take place in those rooms are for you and you are a willing recipient. That is a beautiful thing. I’m going to post a link from my blog to your blog if you don’t mind. I’m glad you are here and want you meet more of our blogger community. : )

    • Wow, thanks Annette. I don’t mind. The timing of this was weird. I’ve been so reserved to start a blog, but was inspired by the new year. Then this news came and it was like I was meant to start this blog so that I can post and share how real this disease is. I’m still in shock about J—-. He was such a sincere and earnest guy, only 26. My wife who only spent a few days with him is reeling too. He’s just that impressive of a guy. I hear all the time the cliche (like you said–no truer words sometimes are spoken) that you bury people while in the program. It’s now my least favorite cliche, but true nonetheless. Thanks for your thoughts…

  • I am here from Annette’s blog. Welcome to blogging. My brother has been in recovery for 25 years. He still goes to meetings several times a week.

    I am so sad and sorry to read about your friend. No other words.

  • Alanon member myself. It is hard to hear of friends passing from the disease of addiction. I have added your blog to my bookmarks and hope to read more on your successful journey. Stay strong, stay the path!

    • Thanks Rob! The more I can share about him the better I feel. I appreciate the words. I think an Alanon meeting would help…

  • I am so sorry to hear about your friend. This world has lost to many people to this horrible disease. Good luck with your journey. You are blessed to have found this path at such a young age. I am 60 and just reached 1 month. Never too old to learn.

  • Hi Mark, friend of Annette. Her daughter is in active addiction, and my son died of an overdose 3 years ago. At the time we had a very active blogging community of POA’s (parents of addicts). Annette and I have traveled many years of addiction and it’s fall out together. Their is tremendous support to be had here.

    I commend you for blogging, and for doing hard work on yourself. You will benefit of course, but your family deserves to have you completely sober and present also.

    When someone dies in a “socially unacceptable” manner (suicide, overdose, domestic violence, etc) it complicates grief. And so very hard to accept the death of someone so young as your friend. I certainly understand feeling “unhinged.” Lots of feelings will surface, take your time coming to terms with his death. Everyone needs and deserves the space to grieve their own way.

    • Thank you so much for your thoughts. Speaking about it really does help tremendously. I shared the other night for longer about it all and get through more of it. Then I read an obituary this morning and it feels like I haven’t ‘dealt’ with it at all. I just really appreciate Annette and you and others who have reached out to me. People who don’t even know me, but know this disease, or know the feeling. It’s helping me go ‘through’ it instead of ‘around’ it which is what everyone tells me I need to do to keep my sobriety.

  • John Twoflags
    2 years ago

    So v sorry you lost your friend. But so glad you started your blog.
    I will be following you closely i think. Its so true about t power of group! Makes me want to talk in a manner(truthfully,often painfully) thats hard to access elsewhere. A hellva lot of what you said resonates so strongly with me.Ive been struggling to start my blog, share my story…… and now i dont know why i was struggling so much. Thanks for sharing this really powerful story. Stay strong brother

    • Thank you. I will. Like you said, because of the group. Read the obituary today and just can’t believe my eyes. He was into so much more good stuff than he ever told me about. It just sucks man. Sucks. But he doesn’t have to die in vain if it gets people like us to take our recovery seriously, you know?

  • I am so sorry for your loss. It seems so unfair. Take care of yourself. Protect your sobriety. You have your own life to live.

  • Brittany
    2 years ago

    First off your blog has been around since January? I have catching up to do!

    This is one of my biggest fears.
    You are so right. Recovery is a new way of life that doesn’t allow us a crutch. We learn to take things as they come, and we feel them and process them. It hurts like hell but in an odd way, it is so good to feel it even when there are triggers going off around us like crazy.
    I like how you mentioned your vulnerability in meetings – like your mind just knows its a requirement.
    I feel at ‘home’ at a meeting even if it is full of people I don’t know. Somehow there’s an unspoken kindred connection. I tend to share more there than I do with my ‘close’ friends.
    Happy for you that you faced this terrible loss head on, and were brave enough to share what you could.

    I am so so sorry for the loss of your friend.
    Another amazing person gone too soon.

    • Thank you for your words Brittany. That “home” feeling keeps me coming back for sure. It’s been great reading your recent posts and videos and all you’re doing!

  • Just found this, a few days after learning that my uncle lost his fight with cirrhosis. Meetings = home. 100%.

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