It is morning, but it is dark.
Dark in the sense that everything is just not how it is supposed to be.
Dark, so dark, that I strain to see sense, but there is no sense to see.
This dark weighs like a thousand pound cloud that thunders, waiting to release the torrential rain.
How did it come to this?
Dutifully going through the motions, I slip on my suit coat.
Black. Black as dark as black can be. I feel wound & bound as I enter this day.
Just five months ago he came to the house. I recognized his hesitancy and his lack of admission right away because I had been there myself.
Not that I know it all or have the answers and can say I am free, because, in reality, we are never really free – never free enough to not be concerned.
We all walk a tenuous, tightrope of recovery.
The light begins as a pinhole stream, as hope is recognized and love is allowed in. Gaining steadiness in my walk I can say the brightness of the light grows with each day that I keep my back turned away from the lures that promise things that are not true.
Emotions are hard.
They trigger desires and thoughts to run and hide in the dark spaces and places.
Standing tall I breathe big and my hand slips into my suit coat pocket and feels a single, soft tissue. This suit was borrowed by him who came to the house five months ago. He wore it to his friends funeral. Yes… this was his tissue with his tears dried on it from just a few weeks ago. And now, here I stand, wearing the same suit, needing a tissue of my own. I pull it out and let the soft crumbled mass sit cradled in my hand like a treasure; the treasure of a friendship now lost.
Death is so very dark.
Why couldn’t I have helped him better to see the light more clearly?
Emotions; damn emotions!
Begging, they seductively whisper to me…
the darkness that thunders with the weight of rain, beckons.
That tenuous, tightrope is before me. Can I still walk it?
I am paralyzed in the moment.
Without any more hesitation, I carefully place the crumpled tissue back into my pocket. And my heart weeps a message: Dear friend, I will miss you. I am sorry I couldn’t change your mind.
And so, I step out and balance my footing…
Sober. Yes, sober, I decide on it.
And I leave the dark rumble behind me.
My son was just barely five months clean in recovery when one of his good friends died of an overdose via a medicine laced with fentanyl. He was crushed. He wept and stuffed that crumpled tissue into his suit coat pocket.
Just about six weeks later, it was my son who died of an overdose involving fentanyl.
I cannot help but think about the impact that drug related deaths have on those who are in recovery; I imagine it frays the end of the tightrope.
Emotions are hard. Death by drugs is a slap of reality across the face that forces a hard look at mortality and threatens the recovering addicts ability to keep walking that tenuous tight rope.
As my son’s friends in recovery came to his memorial service, they wept and were crushed too. My heart feared for each one of them.
For real, just weeks later, I watched these same friends weep over another friend who died of an overdose; It was horribly overwhelming. What bold resolve it takes to keep on going forward in recovery when friends are dying all around them.
How can we help? We can help by being purposeful in our love and support for those who struggle every day to keep sober and clean. Acknowledge their strength and resiliency to keep going when fear rises up and they doubt their next day will be successful. Keep reaching out and hoping and be there when they need you.
Most of all, pray.