She opened her door looking radiant. These days she always looks radiant. She is two and a half months sober.
~~~~We are an improbable match, the two of us. She was always the passionate, strong, street smart, fiery one. I was the quiet, shy, introverted people pleaser. She drank to have a good time. I drank to feel normal, accepted.
After I got sober three years ago, I wondered what would become of us. It was hard to see her still drinking, still having a good time. Selfish, petty thoughts took over: we were the same, after all. Why did I have to stop and she got to keep going?
I knew she had passed the point where keeping an eye on it mattered. We are the same, after all. She was in trouble, and I felt helpless. If you can't save your best friend, who can you save?
So I waited, and I prayed. I let it go, and hoped that when and if the moment came and she wanted help, that I would be ready.
That moment came two and a half months ago. She was finally sick and tired of being sick and tired. She faced a pile of personal and legal troubles, but I could see that wasn't why she wanted help. She wanted help because she had lost herself, and she wanted to find herself again.
She surrendered. She got out of her own way, and let the people who love her step in and help.
She is grace in motion.
Yesterday we drove to another treatment center. This time it was part of cleaning up her legal troubles: a mandatory two week inpatient stay. I was worried about her.
"How are you doing?" I asked, casting a glance over to the passenger seat.
"I'm okay," she said. "I'm ready."
"This is going to be hard, I think," I replied.
She was quiet a moment, and then spoke to me about acceptance. We talked about how all things happen for a reason, and the hard part is getting out of the way so we can see the gifts that are present in the face of difficulty.
"No matter what," she said, "it's going to be okay."
The rules are strict at the treatment center. Patients bring their belongings in a large trash bag, and the list of prohibited items is long. Her intake appointment was the first one of the morning. I was not allowed to go in with her; she had to face this alone. We sat quietly for a moment in the car, and then she took a deep breath, looked at me and said, "Okay, then. I guess it's time."
I looked over at her, concerned, but she was smiling. The bright spark is back in her eyes, and it shone with determination and acceptance.
"You gotta get a picture of this," she joked, as she slung her trash bag over her shoulder.
"Yeah, one for the Christmas card this year," I smiled, as I snapped her picture:
She strode confidently to the entrance, giggling to herself, ready to face whatever the next leg of her journey will bring.