About one year before I got sober, I flew from California to Florida every other weekend to be with my parents while my mother was dying of late-stage cancer. I made five or six trips before my father ended her suffering and took his own life. My wife is a cancer survivor and has had to endure a number of surgeries in the time we've been together. When I compare how I handled my mother’s sickness while still drinking to how I handle my wife’s health challenges, it’s clear my whole attitude and outlook has changed.
I remember during one my trips to Florida during my mother’s last days. I sat up all night by her bedside and killed most of a fifth of cognac until I passed out in the chair. I just didn’t want to feel anything. It’s equally as hard to see my wife suffer for days on end, but I haven’t once had the thought to run. I consider it an honor to walk through this difficult time with her. I look forward to showing up at her bedside and being of service where I can. The contrast between the way I was then and the way I am now amazes even me.
I had no spiritual center before sobriety. I was terrified of death. I worried about painful long term illness. Thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous I am now connected with God of my own understanding. I have come to believe that only the body dies, that death is nothing more than a continuation of life in a different form. And as far as extended illness goes, I have seen so many of you walk through so much physical and emotional pain without a drink, that I just know I can too as long as I stay close to the program.