A friend of mine in my 12-Step program is back to counting days again. What that means is he lost his "time" in sobriety by using drugs and booze and is, once again, counting his sobriety in terms of days instead of months or years.
He "went out." That's what we call it. Big time. My friend is a musician. He'd been contracted by a big foreign musical organization to play with them for awhile. He managed to get overseas a few weeks back, and to even get in a few days of rehearsals. But then... something snapped. He was alone in a hotel in a strange city... totally disconnected from the fellowship of his 12-Step program. He'd been weaning himself from the program (his support group and home group) for over a year. He didn't bother looking up local meetings of his program in the city where he was staying. He'd compartmentalized his life to the point where no one knew where he was, exactly. Not even his wife here in the states.
When he disappeared after four days she must've been panic-stricken. I can only imagine what it would be like to have someone you love fall off the face of the earth in a foreign city, without a clue as to their whereabouts or well-being.
He holed up in that hotel for an additional 4 days. He even hid from the hotel management by hiding under the bed, at one point. He managed to elude detection for another 24 hours that way. He was using booze and crack the whole time.
He hasn't been entirely clear on what prompted him to stop. But apparently he managed to blow through several thousand dollars in a week and then poured himself, still detoxing, onto a plane for an 8 hour flight back to New York.
It's a wonder he didn't die on the plane. Seriously.
I've never seen anybody as shook up about being that close to death in all my years in recovery. As he was sharing his story with me the tears of fear and gratitude kept falling from his eyes. I think that maybe he's finally lost enough.
Because that's what it takes to get serious about getting sober. You have to lose enough in order to be totally ready.
And you have to swallow all of your pride to announce at your home group that you are, once again, counting days.
I'm grateful that my friend is alive. I'm grateful that he came back. I'm grateful that I am here, in order to find out what happens to people who aren't.