December 28, 2001
Along For The Leap

First he told me that his anniversary is on 'December 28th,' which would be five years ago today.

"Are you sure?" I asked him, confused. "I always thought it was the 30th."

But he said nope, he's sure that it's the 28th, he was there, remember? So I fired off a message to all of my faithful Notify List people, urging them to stop everything they're doing and drop him a little note of congratulations today. (Although I managed to scramble the announcement a bit, myself: I reported incorrectly that it's been six years, when it's actually been five. It wasn't until the middle of the night last night as I was laying in bed doing the math that I realized I'm off by a year, but by that time Ю僱êrvØ¡'s mailbox was already beginning to fill with "Way to go!" messages from total strangers.)

Then this morning, as we were driving to work, he suddenly remembered that it was 'the Monday after Christmas.'

"I went off on a bender, the day after Christmas 1996," he recalled.  His voice dropped a molecule or two in volume, as he described a horrific final vodka-and-chat-room binge that lasted for days. The following Monday morning, he said, he woke up  ...  physically shredded, spiritually wrecked, feeling that his whole life had become unmanageable  ...  and he checked himself into rehab.

Which would make his sobriety anniversary on the 30th, not the 28th.


Oh well. The exact date doesn't matter, anyway ... not unless you're one of those anal retentive anniversary freaks who feels compelled to mark every life event, big or small, signigicant or insignificant, triumphant or trivial, with bouquets and banner ads and huge rambling journal entries on her website. The important thing is that he got sober. He woke up on that Monday morning, after a final dysfunctional weekend, and he made the decision to quit doing stuff that was killing him.

And five years later he's managed to stay that way. Plus he's helped a few other people get there, too, along the way. (Like me.)

Recovery is different for everybody. David and I are a perfect example of this. His was a classic, controlled, twelve-step rehab; mine was me vomiting alone into a metal wastebasket. He had the hands-on support of medical professionals and family; I had Next Door Neighbor Dog, watching me haul that last bag of empties to the dumpster. But the one thing David and I have in common -- not only with each other, but with every other recovering addict in the history of recovering addicts -- is our willingness to close our eyes, hold our nose and yell "Geronimo!" as we pitch ourselves over the precipice, hurtling towards who-knows-what waits for us at the bottom. Salvation? Or solid rock? That leap of faith is pretty much what recovery is all about.

And taking other people along for the leap is pretty much what Ю僱êrvØ¡ is all about.

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congratulations, babe ... WHENEVER the anniversary is.