Well it’s right around the corner… 45. The middle of the forties, the middle of life, the end of something, just not sure what. For whatever reason, 45 has always been the jumping off point in my mind, where it was really time to begin looking at things through the lens of maturity. Is it really all downhill from here?
The older I get the more birthdays bring about thoughts of mortality. If I were to pinpoint it, I believe this began to happen when my mom passed away. In May 2010, I was two years sober, still rebuilding my relationship with my mother, and I got a call one evening that she was in the hospital having suffered a massive stroke. I jumped on the next plane from Austin to South Georgia, but she was gone before I arrived.
I will never forget the feeling of walking into her home, and smelling her and sensing her but not being able to hear her or find her. I will never forget picking out what she would be buried in- the casket she would rest in and the outfit she would wear. It brings me chills now just thinking about touching her hand and saying goodbye to her for the very last time. For weeks, until the phone company disconnected her line I would call “my” home number just to hear her voice on the old fashioned answering machine.
There’s a promise after the 10th step in the 12 Step process that says on page 85 of the Big Book “we feel as though we have been placed in a position of neutrality, safe and protected.” The take-away for me, from the whole process of burying my mom, the person I have loved the longest and the purest in my life, is an experience with protection. I was literally and figuratively safe and protected the entire time.
So the truth is, I have looked through the lens of maturity I have so long feared for awhile. Alcoholism and addiction require a certain lens, recovery an entirely different one. And in my experience, the lens that recovery requires is based in humility- a visceral knowing of the allness of God and the nothingness of self.
My mom loved coffee and cigarettes. So even though she was buried in a beautiful designer suit, I slipped into her casket a pack of Marlboros and her favorite coffee cup. I figured she would want those when she got to the other side. In life, there are birth days and death days, but there really are no big deals.
PS… I didn’t tell the preacher 😉
Marsha Stone, CEO