In June of 2012 I issued myself a challenge: That I would pour myself into healthy pursuits with the same vigor as I did with those that were injurious to me. Eleven months later, I learn from this journey the invaluable lesson of a lifetime– I do nothing alone.
Today I am the recipient of an eleven month sobriety coin. The coin, naturally, is symbolic of a system of decisions that have benefitted me greatly. Beyond any possible expectations, to be exact. Never would I have guessed the extent of what could be gained by giving up just one thing. I still, to this very day, am unsure of the nature of my relationship with alcohol. Doesn’t matter. What I am unequivocally sure of is that my life is just better without it. And the fact that I am a Type II Diabetic and shouldn’t be boozing it up anyway, pretty much seals the deal. In thirty days I expect to celebrate a full year of sobriety, marking the completion of my greatest challenge to date, but, more importantly, fulfillment of the prophecy that my spirit is capable of incredible things when it is given a chance to soar unfettered by unnecessary distractions. But I do nothing alone.
Along the way I have given to a few special people one of my coins as a talisman. I know it may sound kooky, but I truly do believe these coins possess a certain power: To provide a warming sense of protection to others as I feel they have for me. I have also given them out of sincere gratitude to people who have played key roles in my life– those who have persuaded me to zig at times when my own nature compelled me to want to zag. My eleven month coin will be going my mother and father-in-law, Melanie and Ed Kera.
I must transport myself back in time, all of 33 years, in order to adequately illustrate my admiration for Suki’s parents. At an age when I would have consumed myself with damaging pursuits, these two young Air Force Captains entertained children at an orphanage in South Korea. It was at this same orphanage that they found and fell in love with my wife. Which then set in motion the miraculous chain of events that make me her grateful husband and father to her magnificent daughter today. The history of my relationship with my in-laws is lamentably checked with an unfair share of tumult. As you might imagine, there were circumstances of my youth which didn’t exactly make me an ideal son-in-law. And I, for many years, engaged in a policy of avoidance with them– sharing their daughter with them on little more than an occasional holiday. And then, eleven years ago, my father died.
Funny how tragedy betrays a person’s true nature. As I have said before, my father didn’t leave this Earth in the manner I would have preferred. While I am grateful for having had the experiences he and I had over the last years of his life, a part of me is still searching for a means with which to share with him the perfect goodbye. I will never get this chance. Despite the influx of shock and confusion over the days immediately following his death, I bore witness to the ascension of two stars, whose light shone brightly, and served as an unexpected source of comfort when one was desperately needed. Within a moment’s notice, Ed and Melanie packed up their van and ventured north, to attend with Suki and me the last minute funeral of my father. They covered 1000s of miles and endured great personal sacrifice in order to be with me while I said my own version of a goodbye to my Dad. How do you pay down the debt of gratitude incurred by moments like this? I don’t think you can. Over the years since his death their presence has filled a void left by my Dad’s absence. And with remarkable reliability, their unwavering support of Suki and my little family has been nothing short of breath-takingly beautiful. I truly do believe we are rewriting the rules relating to the son-in-law/father and mother-in-law dynamic. And I am blessed to have them in my life.
As a note, tomorrow will mark the official eleventh month of my sobriety. I stand before you this day a better person than I was 333 days ago. But I am a work in progress. I have recently availed myself to the fact that recovery is not a destination, but, rather, a process. And that it really doesn’t have an end game. BTW, don’t over-think the word “recovery.” Please. Recovery is really just an acknowledgement of a problem, and taking productive measures to correct it. Change is good, right? I’m now involving myself in some new things, the sort of things that I would have once ridiculed. And I’m liking the results. Last night, for the first time in at least a decade, I slept for nine hours. I spent my morning shopping for a new cape. THAT’S HOW GOOD I FEEL!!
But I do nothing alone.
To my friends: I thank you. To my wife: I love you. To Ed and Melanie Kera: I respect you immensely. The vast majority of our best days are ahead of us. And I look forward to proving to you all, once again, that there is no limit to what can be achieved by the human spirit!