A friend with many years sober ended his own life recently.
I just found out last week and it shook me up. I knew him somewhat, but since we were both recovering from drugs and alcohol, we did have a connection.
He was a friend of the family. We had worked side by side a number of times helping out at family events and repair projects at the property of one of our senior-citizen family members. We chatted at length about our journeys to find sobriety and remain there.
12-step programs helped him find sobriety at first. He then left them behind in favour of an obscure religious philosophy he claimed fulfilled his recovery needs.
Yet, somehow, he drove many miles to a remote location and put a gun to his head and ended it all. Which leaves me wondering how much recovery he really had? Or what stronghold had he left unbroken? We won’t likely ever know. Family members felt strongly he had relapsed months prior to his sad end.
This event prompted me to attend my AA home group that I had not been to in several weeks. Part of my motivation was that I clearly did not want to get caught in a similar drift away from my recovery such that I might go down a hopeless road of my own and come to a tragic end.
In spite of all of the things I dislike about how AA is practiced in my community, I felt strongly that I was where I needed to be that night and felt good that I had gone.
I listened through and filtered out the blow-hard AA “preachers” who continue to try to change a collection of relevant experiences and effective suggestions into a legalistic religion full of ‘musts’.
Somehow, in spite of so many things I don’t care for or agree with, I know I have a place in these rooms and in this program.
Just for today, I have stopped asking why. In the light of today’s sobriety, the why just doesn’t matter.