Today would have been my grandmother’s birthday, and I do believe she would have been 111 years old. When my uncle, her son, died last March, the witnesses to my last drunk were gone. My grandfather died when I was 18. He never knew the sober me. He knew the child me, and the drunken me. My grandmother did not understand my last drunken episode (so far) for what it was. She thought I was being hyper-emotional, which of course I was, and she looked at it as a good thing, which of course it was. But not for the reasons she recognized. She died when I was five years sober.
My uncle died when I was 29 years sober, and I don’t know if he understood my last drunk for what it was. I never talked to him about it. I have to live with knowing that I could have made a difference, and I did not try.
I’m trying with other people’s aunts, though, the ones who present themselves at AA meetings and ask for my help.
Helping others. When I am privileged to be at the scene of what I hope is someone’s last drunk, my sobriety is strengthened in a way that no other experience provides. The drunks are often apologetic and sorry for wasting my time. As I watch time go by in this way, my gratitude grows, my acceptance of my condition grows, my diligence about my sobriety grows, my acknowledgement of the miracle grows.
And I so hope that these desperate drunks change from my “go visit when relapsing” category to “call and include when visiting someone in relapse.”