When the phone rings in the middle of the night it’s usually bad news. So, when the phone rang at 2:30 a.m. I was braced for the news as I struggled to find my phone before it woke everyone in the house. This pre-dawn phone call was no exception to the norm. The man on the phone was immediately apologetic for calling at such an early hour, my stomach flopped. I knew the news was coming, I just didn’t know when or how, or even exactly what it would be. A dear friend of mine, one I’d been worried about for a few months now, had been rushed to the hospital for a medical detox.
As I moved to find a quiet corner at the other end of the house, somewhere out of the way so that my concerned voice didn’t ricochet down the halls, I stubbed my toe on a dog bone. The half-gnawed, nearly iridescent white bone skittered across the wooden floor, crashing into a baseboard. I halted my stealthy moves and listened to see if I’d woken anyone else.
No other sounds, not even my dog. Nice dog!
Finding my comfy, living-room chair, I sat down, curling my right leg up and wedging my barefoot beneath my left knee. I held the phone like a life-line to the world, my friend was in dire trouble on the east coast, and my mind raced through what felt like a million horrible scenarios. I knew to just let my contact tell me what had happened, so I kept my questions on hold, just listening to the distressing news and absorbing it all.
My friend had as much sober time as I did. We got sober together. Something changed for him though, something I feel is possibly always out there for me. There’s a saying, and it hits home here. “But for the grace of God, there go I.”
This reality gave me a chill in the dark of night.
Be sure to follow along in Part 2 – A Non-Existent Sober World