Well, I was going to post this happy post about three of my best friends in the whole world coming to visit this week. Don’t get me wrong. I am very excited for them to arrive. We’re all spread out now, one in New York, one in PA, and one in Nebraska. Yea, yea, I know, who the hell lives in Nebraska beside cows and corn. One is a speaker and author, one a teacher who’s divorced, one a widow and me. Anyway, we all turned 40 together, have children and grandchildren the same age and know each others secrets. You know that kind of friend, trust and love no matter what. I thought about how I would write that they all know I’ve quit drinking. For years I kept telling them I needed to, that I was afraid I’d turn out like my mother, they didn’t think I was that bad, but tipsy I would cry and say I needed to stop drinking. That was years ago. Now I’ve stopped, I told them it was getting out of hand and they support me and won’t pressure me while they’re here, in fact they’ll be proud of me. They’re all normies. Yes, we got drunk together a lot, I always drank the most, always one more when they were finished, but we celebrated lots of things together. Then we all moved apart and our lives were forever altered. When I got out of the shower this morning I thought, oh I’ll finally post something on my blog about my visitors. My sober blog, and then it hit me, all our lives were impacted by drinking. The sad, horrible way alcohol changed our lives.
The (New York) Author and public speaker, has a book published and speaks about the tragic death of her 17 year old son. It’s been 10 years now. He was partying with friends, was a passenger in a car. You get the picture. His good friend was driving. The driver pleaded guilty as an adult and spent 5 years in jail. He came home and lives down the street from Author. The hardest thing for her was that he got to come home. Her son never will. The Author has had a rocky 10 years but she’s come through it, has turned her grief into a teaching experience to benefit other teens and parents and to help them grieve when alcohol claims a loved one. I went through this with her, but I didn’t stop drinking. Teenagers make poor choices but as an adult I have no excuse, other than that I was just fucking stupid.
The second friend, I’ll call her Pennsylvania did not have any alcohol related tragedy. But she had tons of heartache as she divorced and then found out her ex had another child, a two year old. She wondered how she could have been so blind. The heart can do such wonderful and horrific things to us. That’s at least 18 years ago. She’s happy again, with a wonderful man and she too has grandchildren.
Nebraska is probably more like my sister than my sister was. Nebraska being just 7 hours away by car and we would get together every couple summers and spoke on the phone more often than with the other two. 5 months before the Author’s son was killed, Nebraska’s husband was out at a business meeting, drinking, hit a tree and spent the next 10 years in a wheel chair paralyzed with just slight use of his hands. It changed both their lives forever. He succumbed to cancer three years ago. He always wondered why he was alive and the young son of Author had died. My friend became a full time caregiver over night. It’s took her about 2 years to realize she had to now take care of herself and how important it was. And still I drank. I never drove, but I sat at home and slurped down one or two bottles of wine.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. People that had really touched my life and I still spent time with a bottle. What a fucking wake up call those incidents were and still I preferred to slurp my way through it instead of face it head on. The realization of that now makes me sick to my stomach. Ten years ago I was 53 years old. It took me 8 more years until I wised up and put the bottle down. Forgive me.
What are the chances that 2 out of 4 people close to me would have such tragic things happen to them because of alcohol?
They start arriving Thursday. It’s 10 years now. There won’t be any tears, just lots of laughter and dancing and silliness, they’ll have a couple glasses of wine. I won’t be drinking. At. All.
Sorry about the downer. Sometimes you just have to let it out.