Losing People in Sobriety
When I got the gift of physical sobriety, one of the painful things I (we) have had to go through is losing people out of my life. First I had to stay away from my drinking and using friends, when I was newly sober. Then as I stayed sober I lost friends that went back out and never made it back. Next was the loss of friends and family who passed away. Friendships that fade or change drastically. It is all tough on the emotional level to deal with. Of course any good therapist would tell you that you still have to feel it.
When I was about five months sober I was starting to make my amends. My sponsor looked at my 8th step list and asked me “who would be the hardest amends to make on this list?” I answered, “probably my ex wife.” So he said great that’s the first one you will do. Well I went home to call my ex wife’s mother to find out how to get in touch with her, as it had been years since we were in contact. Last I had heard, she had moved out of town some years ago.
I started to dial my ex-mother-in-law, got scared and hung up the phone and told myself; “I don’t need this program”. The thought, “I’ll just smoke pot” immediately crossed my mind! I got on my knees and asked God to help me to do this. I redialed my ex mother-in-law’s number and my ex-wife answered the phone! I won’t waste space here with how she happened to be there at that time but there she was. I told her that in order for me to be free of alcohol and drugs, in my life, I need to go back and amend what damage I can. I went down the list of what harms I caused her. It was a long talk and she expressed her feelings and why she left and told me she still loved me. We made plans to meet for dinner in a few days.
The day after I made the amends I received a call from my ex-wives brother-in-law, that she had been shot and killed by an ex-boyfriend she had recently broken up with. I was in shock and found myself at the funeral the following week. I was invited to the family house afterwards and showed up. I heard from her sister and mother that my ex was so happy that night when I called about being sober and making an amends to her. I found out she never filed the divorce papers. It took time to process all those feelings. The program, the 12 steps, a sponsor, friends and of course God, all helped me through that experience and loss. But a part of it will always remain within me. Especially to share with someone going through the sudden loss of a loved one.
I have lost so many dear friends in the program due to drugging , drinking and violence. These losses happen to people not in recover as well. However the feelings we both feel can be more dangerous for me, in so far as, one of my solutions for pain and suffering was always to medicate myself. Get good and loaded and not feel anything. For someone like myself, that will lead to death in a relatively short time. Living clean and sober is a beautiful thing. However, when we come in, we as human beings have to go through so many life experiences. Some of them, like loss, can be very difficult. Extremely painful. We do not deal with it alone. It doesn’t work. Please reach out to someone, as I have.
Allow me to end on a positive note. There are also many wonderful people that are added to our lives as we trudge along the road to happy destiny. New friends, new family members. Like in my case a daughter that loves and respects me and four beautiful grandchildren. And of course an amazing wife!