Last Friday marked five whole years since I stopped drinking.
I guess that’s kind-of a big deal. It was also the first year I decided not to send out my yearly family-friends-and-just-about-everyone-I-know massive group email with the, er, update.
The “Hey I’ve Been Sober For Another Year” email was my version of the annual xmas letter, where I’d detail how grateful I was to have quit drinking, how everyone receiving the email had helped me do that, and general updates on how my year was. Snooze? Maybe. I think that’s why I didn’t do it anyway.
Er, actually, now that I’m really starting to think about it, there are other reasons. One might be that one of my cousins is really losing his battle with addiction. As in, he’s only 17 years old and has been kicked out of two schools, spent time in Juvenille Detention, stolen my late-grandmother’s car, and, most recently, stolen some of the jewelry my grandma willed to my sisters and I, as well as his mother’s wedding ring.
To fund, of course, his disease.
It’s confusing and heartbreaking. I want to help, but just as every good-intentioned person who feels the same, including his loving parents, I learned the hard way that you just cannot make a person with addiction better.
Any self-realized co-dependent eventually learns this. And it’s fucking frustrating as hell.
But I think what’s even more frustrating is trying to explain this to people who haven’t dealt with it. And some people, understandably, never get it. My grandmother was one.
“If you could just talk to him.”
“But what have his parents done? Have they done enough?”
It is sad, but fruitless, and just one of the many, many crazy things about this particular disease.
So, I guess I just didn’t feel like celebrating this year. My life has become so normal (and fun, and exciting, and better than ever) without alcohol. And, even though many AA groups recognize and give applause and sometimes little coins that say “5 Years”, etc…it really is about the day, and not about how much time you’ve racked up.
I hope my cousin finds a safe place for himself, and his suffering finds an end as soon as possible, and that he has a chance to experience something like the life I get to see now.