What I Almost Lost In My Disease

We sit around the table at my parent’s cottage on the lake, the afternoon light reflecting off the water, blinding me through the windows and casting a golden hue on us. This is how I remember everyone, in this light, at this time of day. This is my family, like flawed angels with makeshift halos on their heads.

We’ve been coming to the lake for Thanksgiving since I was a kid. So far, I haven’t had a single Thanksgiving anywhere else–except for last year.

Last Year

Last year, I spent Thanksgiving with my friends in orange at the county jail. There’s nothing like sitting alone and blaming everyone else for a problem you caused. I think it’s safe to say gratitude wasn’t really on my mind this time last year.

If it had just been driving drunk, I think I could have lived with myself. But, truth is, I got a D.U.I. for driving drunk–while my little girl was sitting in the passenger seat next to me.

Not exactly father-of-the-year material.

Yeah, gratitude wasn’t really on my mind.

As I sat in the cell, all I could think about was myself. How had this happened? I really don’t drink that much–ok, maybe I drink a little more than some people, but I’m certainly not an alcoholic. These people are clearly over-reacting; I don’t need rehab. I can handle this on my own.

But after a few days in jail and a court order, I found myself in rehab.

This Year

Why is it that while we’re cramming ridiculous amounts of food into our mouths the last thing on our mind is thanks? I know that’s the way I’ve always chowed down at family Thanksgiving dinners. But this Thanksgiving is different–because life is so much different.

And I can honestly say I owe it to those sixty days last year.

Sitting around the table, I couldn’t help but reflect a little on what I could have lost, these people gathered around me.

My parents, who supported me throughout rehab, even encouraging me to stay in rehab for an extra thirty days so I could really understand my disease.

My brother, who let me live with him for a few months after I got out of rehab.

My sister, in recovery herself, who goes to meetings with me.

And my little girl, sitting on my lap, who still loves her daddy, despite everything.

My Thanks

I thank God for my DUI and the court order that landed me in rehab.

I thank God for my little girl and that my actions didn’t have the long term consequences they could have.

I thank God that I have a new chance at life.