This week – this day – is loaded. For so many, it’s remembering what happened in our country on September 11, 2001.
Someone asked me recently where I was on that day. I always gulp when the subject comes up because the truth is, I don’t remember a lot of it. I thought it was a hallucination, just another chapter in the a nightmare I was living on a daily basis back then.
People say “Never Forget”, well, I wasn’t there to remember. At least not the way most folks do.
It makes me remember that I missed out on a lot of things that people were going through all those years ago. It makes me remember that I do not have the same shared history as many people in this country do because I simply do not have the memories in my brain. I was checked out.
I read about the events and the heroes and the victims and the survivors and it reads like history that I was not around for because I simply wasn’t around.
This time of year is always a time of reflection and gratitude for me as I got sober on October 4th, 2001. About a month before that, this tragedy happened, and I had no idea what reality was. As unreal as that day seemed to everyone, I really and truly thought I was hallucinating, as my entire life had become a horror show, a delirium tremen, an endless cycle of sick and craving, of self hatred and wanting to end it all. I thought I was imagining all the horror I was hearing and seeing as the tragedy was happening. It couldn’t be real, could it?
I was crashing on couches or on the street at the time and the little news I did see passing by a tv or a newspaper seemed absolutely unreal to me, but so did everything else at that time.
When I think about those days, I am so very sad to think of that woman who thought her life was disposable. That her family was disposable. That there was nothing to fight for and no reason to live. I hoped to die. I truly hoped I wouldn’t wake up from my last drunk, and yet, I kept waking up. I could recognize tragedy in others as that terrible day unfolded, but I couldn’t recognize it in myself.
I had this loving family who was desperate for me to get better. To just PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make the choice to get better. And yet, I wouldn’t do it. I had ZERO value to myself or to society. And I had pretty much accepted that.
When you reach that point of sadness and complete hopelessness, nothing in the world matters. Nothing. Not a major catastrophe as was 9/11, not your parents begging and pleading with you to get your shit together for their sake or for your own.
Thinking I could possibly have a future with an amazing man and two babies and a great job and the PEOPLE IN MY LIFE – my gods the people in my life today – and who have been here along the way to get me sober, I am beyond humbled.
This is my second chance. You know how cats have 9 lives? We humans aren’t so lucky. I know I burned through my lives. This is the real deal. And this is why I am so goddamned grateful for every moment of life today.
When I say I wish you all bottoms, I mean, that moment when you realize everything has to change. It can be completely internal and nobody would even know it hit you. My story is dramatic, but not all are. It can be anything that makes you lose everything internally, HOPE, losing hope is the ultimate in hitting the wall.
What happened those years ago was a tragedy. What is happening every day for many of you reading this blog is also a tragedy, in that you don’t have hope. I am here to say, keep going. Keep trying and reaching and know that somebody is out here rooting for you. I never say, IF I CAN DO IT SO CAN YOU, because that is bullshit. We all have our own journey.
You may think you are not worthy of this second chance, but I promise you that you are.
It also happens to be Suicide Prevention Week. Do not kill yourself. If you are hurting or questioning or feeling helpless, use that link. Call the number. I know your pain, I know your despondency. I know that what seems like forever will inevitably change if you just don’t do something permanent in the meantime. There are resources to help.
I was given this second chance shortly after 9/11. This time will always be full of sadness and gratitude for me for many reasons. What I know is that I am here, and well, I know why I’m here today and it’s to help people to get and stay sober and to choose hope. That is my why. If I can do that every day in some way, I feel like I’m giving back what was so freely given to me. We are all a part of this big circle of life and we have to pass it on in order to keep it ourselves.
Choose hope, choose life. It seems impossible to see the light, to search for the light, but it is possible. I have to do it every day and some days it’s incredibly hard. That’s what I’m doing today, and for me, that means sobriety and helping other people and making the next right choice. We are all in this together. Whether you are sober or not, or need to be or not. Helping each other and ourselves and being grateful make every day better for all of us.
I’ve never been more serious about anything in my life, as we are talking about living here. When I look at my life today, I cannot BELIEVE this is my life. I try to be deserving of all the gifts I have been given. I want to live this life with you, but I need you HERE to do that. Please please please walk along with me.
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