Sobriety: a happy ending

She comes across the funniest, most appropriate (or not so appropriate) memes I’ve ever seen…which makes her more fun to text with than talk to. She has great taste in Netflix. She hates coffee. I almost got kicked out of Cracker Barrel because of her. She’s quiet…so she sees more. She appreciates sentiment and has a great sense of humor. However, sarcasm is where she shines. Oh…and she is a horrible drunk. I told her this years ago. It went something like this:

“Some people can drink, and they’re like ‘Wow, this is fun.’ Some people can drink and they’re like ‘Wow, I just did a lot of really stupid stuff.’ You just can’t drink. Scratch it off your list.”

She didn’t. Fast forward through a seemingly successful high school and college career.  She got her first “real job” and the cutest dog ever. Things seemed to be going okay. They were not. Horrible things had been happening, and she didn’t stand up for herself because she believed so many lies. No one stood up for her because she hid the truth. We (the ones that loved her) didn’t realize that she was drinking so much. They (the ones who fed her alcohol problem) make me so dang mad…but they only saw the great sense of humor/sarcasm blend.

Her counselor called me one afternoon. She needed to release her into the care of a responsible adult. In minutes, I was there. I walked passed her car, and…diet coke bottles. I was so mad. Diet coke meant she was drinking. Regular coke meant she was not. I was SO mad. She hadn’t lied. She never lied to me. She had been hiding.

Hiding is so much more dangerous than lying.

I made her call her momma on the hour and a half drive to a facility that was supposed to “help” her. I felt bad…like, as a mother, I should have just taken her home…and let her mom deal with this. I felt like I was intruding. Her mom loved her. Her mom was involved- as involved as she would allow.

We were in the waiting room when a young family walked in with their little boy. He was probably 8 years old. As his parents started to leave, he realized he was going to have to stay. His words ripped my heart out. He begged his momma not to leave him. “I’ll be good, Momma. I promise I’ll be good. I’m sorry, Momma. I’m sorry, Momma.”  After they took the little boy back, we didn’t speak. We just sat. They admitted her, and I went to my car and threw restraint out the window. I cried. I beat my hands against my steering wheel. I demanded answers from God. I cried some more. My heart was broken for her. I’m so thankful her momma didn’t have to leave her there.

The road from there to here was not good. Some turns helped. Some turns hurt. But, long after most of us had given up on her coming back to a normal life, she text me. She had seen a sunset…and it made her smile. She smiled. No jokes. No sarcasm. She saw something and acknowledged it was beautiful with a simple smile. That was a huge deal. Alcohol abuse and hiding had made her numb to the normal things we feel. At that point, she had spent years manufacturing smiles.

1. Eat this food.

2. Do this yoga sequence.

3. Take this pill,

4. and this one,

5. and that one.

6. Make some art.

7. Raise the corners of your mouth.

8. Check the box: you smiled today.

So, a smile…that just happened…was worth celebrating. Years of hard work. To be honest, I’m shocked that she’s still alive. I had come to terms several times with the possibility that she may take her own life…as if “coming to terms with it” would lessen the blow of the news. The depression was so isolating. I couldn’t convince her to stay.  I had decided that I would see the real her again one day…”in a better place.”

But, this month, she has been sober for two years. She’s got a job. It’s not the one she went to college to get…but she works hard. She’s enrolled in college to find a career that fits her needs and interests. She went to Disney and reinvented the smile manufacturing thing:

  1. Go to Disney.
  2. Smile.
  3. Go to Harry Potter world.
  4. Smile and cry at the same time.

I’m so glad she exists. I’m so glad she kept sitting quietly with no hope on the hard days. She could have easily taken too many pills or drank so much that she ended her misery…but that didn’t work out for her. God intervened against her will. Now, getting to watch her do life…and cheer her on in the good things…and question her in the unhealthy things is a privilege that I never take for granted. I’m so glad she’s alive.

I’m not positive that she has wrapped her mind around the work God has done to keep her here on this earth. I’m not worried about it.  He’s not finished. There are some very specific things left to take place in her healing. She knows them. She doesn’t share them often…but she doesn’t hide them.

Published by ambersugg

After a dozen or so years in ministry, I'm busy making pb&j and trips back and forth to school to give my kids whatever they left at home on any given day. Man, the days run together- Copy/paste a million times...but, never a dull moment...and always a new lesson.

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