On November 30, 2006 I hit the bottom. Alcohol had taken control of my life. I haven’t touched it since, and I look back on that day as a true blessing. My life has changed immeasurably for the better. I have been able to sustain sobriety from the help of friends. One in particular has been a rock for me. I have a hard exterior shell. It will not let people in. Stephen R., despite knowing the challenges, has always been there for me. Even though I don’t always return calls or texts, he has persisted with the only intent to make sure I am ok. This has saved my life in tangible and innumerable ways. Knowing there is someone who cares and understands is a buttress against a relapse to my reckless and self destructive former self. In the background I have the song “How to Save a Life” playing. I have listened to it hundreds of times. The lyrics relate to the grief from loss of a friend. While not directly on point, and in relation to Stephen R., I just almost lost him. He is an artistic hermit who toils away in his basement workshop restoring priceless antique furniture and paintings. He had surgery about a month ago and I called and learned he was in bed with paralyzing fatigue. I told him to go to the hospital, something I am absolutely sure he otherwise would not have done. Stephen’s wife was away, so he was alone. A positive Covid 19 diagnosis followed. I stayed in touch with him daily until his wife returned and learned on the morning of (and before) her return he was having difficulty breathing. I told Cheryl to go to CVS to obtain an oxygen level sensor and Cheryl did so, and cautioned of the perils from breathing difficulties. A telemedicine session followed and he was told to stay home. Two evenings later, Cheryl awoke to Stephen’s moaning and terrible shaking from chills with labored breathing. She took his oxygen level and it registered 75. Stephen was rushed to the hospital and Cheryl told me this morning that I helped to save his life. Now we are even Stephen.
I am amazed and honored to have been sconce of friendship to me. You have always been a good friend to me.