Tuesday, July 12, 2016

We don't all survive

   Last night, my youngest daughter, Addalyn, and I went to a late movie.  During the movie, she moved the armrest, covered up with her blanket that she brought with her, and cuddled up next to me.  I thought to myself that there was no greater feeling in the world, and I just sat and basked in the gratitude of being with her. 

   On the way home, we had to make a pit-stop at Wal-Mart.  Yes, it was nearly midnight, but I needed bleach.  I had a load of whites waiting for it.  I walked through the bleach aisle trying to decide if I wanted bleach tablets, regular liquid bleach, or the gel kind.  I've tried all three, but I haven't really committed to a certain one.  Anyway, as I tried to make my decision, my phone dinged.  It was a familiar sound...the Facebook messenger notification.  I reached into my purse, thinking that it was possibly a friend I had just been talking to, or my sister and sister-in-law with a hilarious story to tell me.  I turned my phone on, held my finger to the sensor on the back to unlock it, and saw that it was from a girl I was in treatment with.  We check up on each other from time to time, so I wasn't surprised when I saw her name.  I opened up the message and suddenly bleach no longer mattered.

  "We lost another sister today," it said.  And I read the name.  And the room started spinning.  And the tears started flowing.  In the Wal-Mart bleach aisle.  That message is one that I dread receiving.  We've lost another one.  This makes three now.  Three ladies....sisters....friends that I lived with for months.  Three women with family and friends who desperately loved them.  Three women who tried with everything inside of them to beat this evil beast. 

   This one hit me hard.  You see, this friend and I shared a room. She slept on the bottom bunk right beside mine.  I was bed 4, she was bed 6.  She came in only two days after me, so we spent 98 nights falling asleep beside each other.  98 mornings waking up beside each other.  98 times of me waiting until she fell asleep to go turn out the shower room light, because she was afraid of the dark.  98 mornings of watching her sneak an extra cup of coffee. 

   She was strong.  Tough.  She tried to play the unemotional type.  But, in our room at night, I got to know the real her.  I listened to her cry about her marriage ending.  I listened to her cry about the hurt she had caused her two little girls.  I listened to her talk of a tragic crime that had been committed against her, and I watched her work on forgiving that person.  And some nights I laid there in pure amazement that someone so tough could be scared of the dark. 

    I will never forget helping her pick out her outfits and fixing her hair.  I would be sitting in the group room in the morning journaling and reading my morning devotions, and she would walk in the room with her teasing comb and hairspray.  She didn't even have to ask anymore.  It was a given that I would fix her hair.  And I loved to watch her face as she looked in the mirror afterward.  A smile always took over her self-conscious face. 

   Every time I see hand sanitizer, I will think of her. 
   Every time I make ranch chicken, I will think of her.

   I will never forget laughing hysterically with her.  I will never forget crying and praying with her when she finally came to the realization that her marriage would not be restored.  I will never forget her apologizing to all of us for a big mistake she made while in treatment.  I will never forget remaking her bed after she left the room, knowing that it would never pass inspection as the corners were not done correctly and you couldn't "bounce a quarter off of it."  I will never forget sitting across from her at breakfast one morning when our friend, Kathy, said something completely hilarious and I accidentally spit my coffee all over her face.  I will never forget her laughing instead of punching me.    I will never forget knowing that I didn't want to ever be in a fight against her!!  I will never forget how loud she snored and how much she talked in her sleep.  I will never forget her love for high heels.  I will never forget the body spray she wore that made my nose burn.  I will never forget that she could do a mean smoky eye.  I will never forget what a good cook she was.  I will never forget that one of the counselors called her by the wrong name and that she eventually just went with it.

  I will never forget her.

  This never gets easier.  It never makes sense. It never seems right....never seems fair.  But, addiction doesn't make sense.  Addiction is not right....not fair.  On a daily basis, I despise this evil monster.  But, some days, like today, I hate it more than I can even begin to tell you.  I hate that it steals mothers from their children; daughters from their mothers; wives from their husbands.  I hate that it steals us from ourselves. 

  You see, though...addiction does not care.  It has no remorse for what it does.  It doesn't care who you are or how hard you try to beat it.  It is cunning, relentless, selfish, controlling, and powerful.  It is the toughest demon you will ever have to fight. 

May we never forget how powerful it is. 

May we never let down our guards.  

May we never give up the fight. 

***To my sisters in recovery:  I love each and every one of you.  We may not see each other often or even talk to each other often, but please know that I think of you more often than not.  The bond we formed during one of the hardest times of our lives is something that can never be broken.  You all were there for me, and I hope you can say the same of me.  Know that I look at your pictures on Facebook.  That I smile when I see that you are doing well.  That I cry when I see that you are not.  Don't give up.  Don't let her death be in vain.  My prayer is that I will never again receive the message that I got last night.  Stay strong, girls.  We've got this.  Love you all.


  1. I love you too misty. All we can do is keep on keeping on. And beat this horrible disease called addiction. I love the stories that you write. I've even got a couple from drug court that love reading them. I love you.

  2. How horribly sad. Too many are lost to this- all forms of addiction. The opiate addiction is so very hard to recover from as the brain takes much longer to return to "normal." I pray for all that are suffering and struggling and their families and friends who care, but don't really get how hard it is.