I never planned for any of this to happen. But fuck, who does, I think to myself as I stand outside smoking a cigarette. It’s cold out. Winter approaches. Sky full of stars. Trees are all dead. Car windows frosted. It’s two in the morning.
Can’t sleep but that’s nothing new. I like the cold. It tells me I’m alive. After all, I should be dead.
Two hundred and fifty days ago I tried to end it, the only way I knew how. The only exit I could see was to die. That’s a lie. The only exit I chose to see was suicide because the other ways out scared me more than that. Now isn’t that some fucked up shit. I would rather swing from a tree than face the truth. To admit my wrong doings. To ask for forgiveness.
I was a multi-decade drunk, an opiate junky, a thief, a liar and most of all ashamed. I did so many horrible things, unforgivable things. How could anyone ever understand much less forgive me? I thought for sure my family would disown me. And I had already failed my new born son. I was no father.
But something intervened with my plans. I tried to OD. I tried to hang myself but somewhere in there, sometime during those final days, somewhere in me, something reached out. And I called for help.
These stars tonight, the ones I wouldn’t be seeing, I know are shining down on a world full of people just like me. Lost. Confused. Fighting. In the mist of the battle of addiction. On the front of recovery. And I know I’m not alone. That we are not alone. There is comfort in knowing there are others as broken as me.
Stars hang like buoy lights in a sea of black. As Virgil wrote “rari nantes in gurgite vasto.” We are the “rare survivors in the immense sea.” We are the rare survivors of our own war, a war often fought inside ourselves. And the battlefield is a vast sea indeed. A sea of black. A sea of stars that are fighting to not burn out.
I finish my smoke, check the stars one last time, give them a nod to say I see you out there my brothers and sisters, and I walk back inside.
I go to the bedroom to check on my son. Tiny snores comfort me. He is ok and sleeping well. A love like no other over takes me. Two hundred and fifty days sober and clean today. My son is safe. I am a father now. A good father. And we will be having Christmas with our family that loves us.
So in a way I did die that Sunday two hundred and fifty days ago. A part of me that I needed to let go, I finally surrendered and let pass away. So here I sit at 2am the oldest eight month old I know, talking to these stars tonight.
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