Ten years ago today. And yet it feels like a full lifetime ago. I can still see him standing there on the porch crying. Begging us not to leave. But in the same breath, refusing to get help. Refusing to be rehabilitated out of a life of raging alcoholism.
I can still feel Cody’s tiny hand in mine as we drove away. Away from our home. Away from our friends and family. Away from our town and his school and our whole life. He was 8. He didn’t understand. He was old enough to know something was very wrong but not old enough to be burdened with the truth.
On this day ten years ago, I imagined I was nearing the end of this decade long battle of watching my husband slip further and further away from us and deeper and deeper into addiction. I imagined that this move was the final thing he needed to hit bottom and reach up. I imagined we would make it and he would find sobriety.
But I was wrong.
All the dreams and all the hopes and all the prayers and all the tears… they came crashing down in a violent end just six months later. It was like a death without the funeral. No casket to weep over but he was gone just the same.
There was no Bill yet. No hope of a happy new life. No ideas of a future loaded with promise and health. Just emptiness and sadness.
When I think back to the events of this day ten years ago, I realize how epically important it was in the entire story of my life. And I realize the important role that was played by the people who came along and acted like stepping stones. Helping me find footing just one step at a time.
Lately I’ve encountered a handful of situations wherein I observe someone who is in desperate need of help and change and full life rehabilitation and yet they cower in the last second and choose instead to stay in their prison. It puzzles me when people writhe in the agony of their actions when help IS available. They seem to prefer the familiarity of their chains rather than the open door ahead of them that would lead to something new and wholesome and life giving.
But then I remember. I remember how hard it was. How terrifying it was, actually.
No good or amazing transformation has ever come about without high stakes. Without high risk. Without high fear.
But when the fear is stared down and brave, decisive action is taken, it’s as thought Heaven reaches down to help.
What mountain sits in front of you? What great obstacle must you overcome in order to find peace and wholeness? What demon waits to wrestle with you?
Fight it! Face it! Be brave and put one foot in front of the other. Even if the very.next.step is straight off the face of the cliff of your deepest fears.
Yes, blood will be shed and loss will be sustained. No great adventure has cost less. But the prize is worth it.
Don’t wait another day.