For Most Of My Life, I Have Successfully Avoided Grief...
I’m not saying that I discovered a way to escape the feelings - far from it. I just consumed enough drugs and alcohol to dull the senses of myself and 6 unborn children from the future. What that did, was store all of my pain into the active volcano that is my soul. When I finally realized that drugs and alcohol were making things worse and I stopped using, I experienced an eruption of grief and sadness.
Cut to now. My dear friend/almost brother/radio cohost soul mate, Chris G, passed away last month as a direct result of drinking and using. I couldn’t save him, and I had to accept that. Luckily it says in our literature that no human power could have relieved us from this disease, so I'm off the hook as far as fault goes. But it still hurts. Have you ever noticed how it’s always the good ones who burn out before their time should be up? When I was a teenager, my best friend’s father passed away from cancer and I was devastated. He was a famous musician, which made me wonder why couldn't it have been a shitty musician who died instead? “Why couldn't it have been fucking Madonna?” I demanded. Everyday I walk by useless junkies sitting in their own shit pants (because San Francisco is gross) and I wonder why Chris? Why my talented, hilarious, caring sweetheart of a friend and not this guy? There are no answers to this and the only advice I have is to not think like that because it will drive you crazy.
When my dad died, I ran from the grief because I was sure it would kill me. I didn’t deal with it until 10 years after he passed away. The pain was so much less awful when not fueled by alcohol. I made a vow to myself right then and there that I would give my loved ones the respect they deserved and grieve their losses with a sober mind.
Even though Chris’ death hit me like a ton of bricks, I had been watching him slowly die ever since he relapsed 2 years ago. If you asked me even 1 year ago if the thought of him dying would make me want to drink I would have said “SHIT YES.” But watching him go changed me somehow. I saw someone who was only a few years older than me, turn yellow from having a completely deteriorated liver and slowly slip away. Honestly, it made hate alcohol. Fuck that shit. I wouldn't even mind if they brought back prohibition. I have no issue with normal people drinking—but what it does to the body of an alcoholic is both terrifying and sad. It’s not the 50th gallon of vodka that kills us. It’s the first sip because after that, we have no control.
My beautiful friend Chris gave me the gift of getting to grieve sober for the first time in my life. I walked through it with absolutely no substances in my body and I can’t even begin to describe what a beautiful experience it was. I though about him constantly after he passed, my heart would feel like it weighed a ton and then I’d feel relief mixed with gratitude for the fact that I had such a good friend. Like I said, grief isn’t something I’ve ever allowed myself to feel. I’d be out buying cat food and wonder what the weird watery substance on my face was. “Are these fucking tears?!!” Yes. They were. And they passed. I doubled up on my meetings, reached out for help and most importantly, I just let myself feel.
I will always miss Chris. But now I have another sober angel up there watching over me who, when I think heroin would fix things, says “DUDE! Are you fucking kidding me? Go to a meeting right now!’ I hear him, tell him to hug my dad for me, and get my ass to a meeting. That’s how I stay alive.
I hope this helps someone out there.
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