Tuesday, March 1, 2016

An extra day, an extra chance

Cavs game

Yesterday was February 29th, an extra day....a freebie.

When I was in treatment, I was required to keep a journal.  Every night from ten to ten-thirty, we had to lie in our bunk beds and write in our journals.  I'm not gonna lie, some nights I just jotted down my favorite Bible verse or a short gratitude list from the day; but most nights I wrote about how I was feeling and about important things during that day that I never wanted to forget.  Back then, I was so thankful that I kept up with my journaling because two evenings a week, our beloved Mrs. Muncy (who forever impacted my life in the greatest way) did a journal check at nightly group.  She didn't read what we had written, as it was personal; rather she checked the dates and made sure there were no entries missing.  If there were, she would hand out demerits (especially for repeat offenders), which included not getting our one soda or coffee per day or losing minutes on a phone call.  I can remember girls sitting right as group was getting ready to start, trying to catch up on a week's worth of journaling.  In fact, one time one of the younger girls was trying to do eight days' worth in five minutes, and she frantically yelled out to me, "Misty!!  What did we have for lunch last Tuesday?!" I replied, "Are you really journaling about our meals?"  "I'm desperate at this point!", she explained.   I wanted nothing to do with demerits, and can boast that in two different stays, I never received one single demerit.  Something to be proud of, right?  I was on my best behavior in treatment.....for my drug addiction.

I am now thankful that I kept a journal because I love to pick it up and read what I was going through and feeling back then.   I often look back to see what I was doing one year ago to the day.

Looking back to one year ago, however, there was no February 29th, 2015.  The day simply did not exist.

February 29th, 2016 did exist, though, and we took full advantage of it.  Our eleven year old son, Ethan, got two tickets to yesterday's Cleveland Cavs game for Christmas.  They were for him and me, of course, as his dad finds sports rather underwhelming.  We loaded up and drove to Cleveland, stopped for lunch on the way, checked into the hotel, then walked across the street to the arena.  Ethan took pictures of the outside of the arena and held my hand as we ventured upon the crosswalk. Both of those things warmed my heart.  We went through security and into the arena where a security guard pointed us toward the escalators.  We stopped at the team shop and bought some over priced souvenirs then rode up the two story escalator to find our seats.  Ethan was so excited he couldn't even take his coat off.  He looked at every detail of the arena, capturing it all on his camera.  The lights went down, the fire came out, and they announced the starting lineup.  Ethan stared in amazement at the extravaganza, and I stared in amazement at the look on his handsome face.  His excitement only grew as we watched a nail biter of a first half. We walked to the concession stand and bought a soda to share and two packs of candy for $17.  No wonder they could afford to pay these players so much money!!!  We went back to our seats, enjoyed the half-time show, then anxiously watched the close second half.  The Cavs seemed to stay about three to four points down throughout most of the game.  I'm not quite sure that God cares about who wins an NBA game, but I found myself saying, "God, I know this probably doesn't really matter to you, but if you could somehow help the Cavs pull out a win here, that would be great.  For my little guy....please?"

The Cavs managed to bring it the last couple minutes of the game, and I found myself jumping up and down with Ethan.  The buzzer sounded, and Ethan screamed at the top of his lungs celebrating the win.  We walked down the steps and he said to me, "This was the best day of my life."  I watched as he walked to the railing to take some closer pictures.  As he stood there, I thought back to a day that was much different than this one.

January 12, 2015 I sat the kids down and told them that I was leaving, yet again, to go to treatment.  Ethan is typically such a tough kid and just doesn't let things get to him.  I did not anticipate the reaction he would have.  He was devastated and broke into sobs that pierced my heart.  I tried to console him, but he would not let me.  I left the room to finish gathering my things, and when I walked back into the living room, I saw Chad holding our ten year old like a newborn baby trying to calm him down.  I walked closer to them, and Chad angrily said, "No.  You get out of here."  I was humiliated that this was my fault.  I would dare to say that Ethan would describe this day as the worst day of his life.

And, yet, yesterday I was given another chance.  An extra day to make beauty out of ashes.  A day to attend a game with my son without the stress of making sure I had pills to take with me, without worrying that they wouldn't make it through security, without pretending that I needed to go to the restroom every little bit.  The same boy who had looked at me with eyes saying that I had caused him the worst day of his life, looked at me and told me I had given him the best day of his life.

I tell you all of this to give you hope, to show you that who you are today DOES NOT have to dictate who you are tomorrow.  Life can be changed from night to day, from sorrow to joy, with one single choice.

That's what God can do.  He can restore to us that which was lost.  He can take a mother who is ruining her child's life and turn her into a mother who is pouring into her child's life and making memories that will last a lifetime.  That is the true meaning of recovery.

He will give us an extra day, an extra chance...even when we are nowhere in the vicinity of deserving it.


  1. Wow this really brought tears to my eyes! I struggle in my recovery from time to time, but its God and stories, well people like you, that keep me going forward! Thank you so much for sharing d

  2. Absolutely love this story! I have struggled with addiction for ten years. Recently started Suboxone and it has helped tremendously! I have been on one heck of a ride and just hoping and praying that one day I don't need a medicine to help my cravings and that I can just live life normal. Also from Ohio as well! :)

    1. Thanks Heather! My view on recovery is that you just gotta do what works for you. Every path to sobriety is different. Keep going (one day at a time), and you will get to that place you can now only dream of being...that place of complete freedom. The cravings still come and go for me, but it's so freeing to know I don't have to surrender to them. Keep it up!!!