Wednesday, July 23, 2008

the road home

I was called in on a dime to go to First Hospital to do a community awareness presentation on what 12 step groups are available in the area for the patients currently "serving time". I actually went in as the sidekick to another woman, who also admitted her second banana status to someone else doing this thing. So we two scared second string players went in to speak to people just brought in and most highly prescription medicated at the time we went (after lunch). I never have any expectations doing this. The people are always who is admitted at the time, never the same group twice though there are repeats occasionally. I don't go in often enough to really notice this. At least in the prison there is a core of women I see all the time-but that is an actual meeting. This is basically a format to share our family's experience with a alcoholic member, a child, and someone who endured hospitalization on a 302 and subsequent incarceration. Try saying that three times fast. Our journey of recovery in a nutshell. Sometimes people are asleep, sometimes so doped they can't think or talk, sometimes really emotional.

This day everyone seemed fairly alert and very talkative. It was a large group. Almost all of the men were alcoholic. In fact nearly the entire group was-some cross addicted to drugs. But many repeats to the system. It became a sharing session that started out full throttle and ended up with several crying men. I don't often see this, but there were several guys in the same situation, in danger of losing spouses and children, and this put them over the edge. One man slung a noose over a tree branch and called 911 before using it. There was nothing magical about the presenters, believe me. We only go in to share the hope that we've found. My partner was extremely humble and approachable. She lived in rehab most of her junior high and high school life and didn't put down alcohol and drugs until she became pregnant. She was clean until that child was killed in a senseless and tragic accident, but this time she found the group I attend. I'll never forget the day she came. Her pain was so evident, her words few but straight to the point. She chose to walk away from bitterness, blame, the self-torture of a guilty parent whose child is now gone under her watch, and be whole again. Hearing what she shared that night made me understand how much we need other people to grasp flailing hands.

And her sharing and simple acknowledgment of those in this group opened the floodgates. At the end one man spoke up and told us this group of people hadn't simply shared their stories and the whys to each other. In twenty minutes healing began to happen. There were people from every faith persuasion and it didn't matter-all had the same need. To be loved unconditionally and helped back on the road to life. I see this over and over and over again. It isn't hard to say-once I was lost, and now I'm found. And this is my story.


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