It is amazing to witness the incredible results in someone’s life, especially after some time has gone by and we celebrate milestones that allow for reflection. Compound that with a gathering of family and the sanctity of a marriage ceremony and it’s tough to fight back the tears. I found myself doing this on more than one occasion as I attended the wedding of someone I was able to take through the steps just a short while ago.
This same man was strung out on heroin, homeless and helpless just over a year ago. Because he’s family (sort of) I was willing to let him stay on my couch as he detoxed and we worked on getting him into a 90-day treatment center. That process took about a week and honestly I wasn’t sure how I was going to feed him and my kids. I had just gone through a divorce and recently moved into a rental. Money (and space) was incredibly tight, but I felt compelled to be of service.
We had tried everything prior to deciding on letting him stay in my house and he’d burnt every bridge with his family. Detox failed as they didn’t even admit him after a 24-hour stay in the lobby. He called me the next day from a gas station in Phoenix explaining how he was dropped off at a halfway house filled with bed bugs. He had red marks all over his body as my brother (who I’d made arrangements with) dropped him off at my house later that day.
I watched him shake and fight off the pain from withdrawals. My house was darkened, literally and metaphorically, by his very presence. It wasn’t an easy time for any of us and I had to explain to my children that we were helping him, and why.
But….. just like so many other instances, the blessings in my life are substantial as a result and in direct comparison to my willingness to help others (with discretion).
As I watched his wedding ceremony just over a year later and caught up with old family members I was overwhelmed with emotion several times. What an absolute miracle and gift this program of recovery provided for so many people that day.
He was no more capable of supporting anyone (including himself) than I was 11 years ago prior to my getting sober. I couldn’t help but take in the beauty of him holding his new family’s hands as they danced last weekend in a celebration of the day and their future. The layer of fulfillment and richness I felt as I reflected on our experience together as sponsor and sponsee was deeply fulfilling….. beyond words. It’s why I do it and love being a part of it.