It’s amazing to me how time truly flies. I remember back when I was just a kid. My grandmother used to tell me to enjoy childhood and the time I have because it seemed the older she got the quicker time moved forward. Of course, I didn’t get it until now. She was about the same age I am now when she offered those words of advice. I think I followed them, but just stumbled along the way, at times being lost in my addiction, especially when she passed on from this earth. At the time I was ‘finding myself,’ which is how my family used to refer to my college years of alcohol use and my rebellious activity with drugs.
When my grandmother passed I was present, thankfully, but only by a small miracle of timing. As I said, I was in college. It was an early evening, and I’d been drinking since my classes for the day ended. There was a band at the student union playing later and I wanted to be good and buzzed for the event, so smoking dope and drinking was what I had access to. Therefore, that’s what I did. Other drugs were to come later in my life.
The college I went to was a very large university, and the campus was about five square miles. My dorm was on the Southwest side of the campus and the student union was located almost in the northeast quadrant. It was a cold winter night and we bundled up in a feeble attempt to keep the freezing temps of a late New England winter at bay; sometimes the chill was in your bones and it just didn’t go away.
Anyhow, when we arrived I pulled off a hot glove and reached into my cold parka’s pocket. It was empty except for my keys. My ticket lay on my bed. Set right there so that I’d see it before I left. I sighed heavily. “Hey, guys. I need to go back and get my ticket.” After a few irritated and forced laughs, I turned and walked, jogged at times, as I only had about thirty minutes before the concert started. Upon entering the dorm I pulled off my steaming hot parka, sweat dripping down my forehead, and then moved to the elevator. The doors opened on the twentieth floor and I quickly made my way to the room.
The ticket lay right on the bed, right where I left it, right next to the phone. As I picked up the ticket, the shrill ring of the phone in the dead quiet room startled me. I turned to leave, but thought it might be important. My head was buzzing from the beer. I answered. It was my father.
I stood there listening as he explained how my grandmother wouldn’t make it much longer. The pancreatic cancer had metastasized into many of her organs. He body was shutting down. I don’t know what happened next but I was moving from the room and heading to my car to begin the 4 hour drive home. I don’t know what it was that allowed me to have the feeling of being able to drive my car that distance, but I am thinking my higher power and a good dose of adrenaline guided me throughout the night.
I made it in time to see her, tell her I loved her, and to say goodbye. That was twenty-five years ago today. Unfortunately, it took me a few more troubled years to get that I am an addict, and when I finally did, I looked back at this time, the last few years of her illness. I didn’t see her all that much and I wonder how much I hurt her with my physical absence. There’s no one to make amends to, but myself. I am lucking that my memories of her are still strong and wonderful. I enjoy life now, a sober life. I don’t miss opportunities to be with family and friends; in both good times and bad.
My present to myself since I got sober is to be a presence in their lives.
Recovery Rob BIO
Recovery Rob is a 47-year-old man who has more than nineteen years of sobriety, whose drugs of choice at one time were alcohol and drugs, and he has worked in and around the field of addiction for more than 20 years. Recovery Rob is a professional writer who has published two novels and is currently working on his third. He has been writing and working as Pat Moore Foundation’s premiere blogger and content writer, which helps keeps Pat Moore Foundation’s addiction and recovery blog top-rated.