I had the most amazing mini vacation in Tampa, FL. I’m so very happy to have met my new sober-sister, Jill! I had such fun, and a great connection with her. She is a very special lady!
My husband and I arrived into Hartford, CT at 1:00 a.m. this morning. So I’m super exhausted, but still riding a ‘high’ from our trip. Today my focus will be on self-care and relaxing, so I can recoup my energy for Christmas.
Last night before boarding our flight, I was hit with an intense wave of fatigue and exhaustion. I became irritable and negative in my thinking, as I usually do when I’m feeling low like that. As we boarded the plane, the flight attendant announced that it is a very full flight. We were some of the very last people to board the plane. We flew Southwest Airlines, and they do not have assigned seating. You choose your own seats. As my husband and I walked down the aisle of the plane, I could see that we were limited to the very last two seats on the plane. I sat in the middle seat of 3, with my husband on my right side, and a visibly shaken middle-aged woman on my left. As I sat down, I immediately smelled the very strong scent of vomit! The woman (who I later learned her name to be Dana) leaned toward me and said, “I’m sorry, I threw up on my last flight from Denver, and I know I smell bad.” I was feeling annoyed by the smell, but did not want her to feel bad, so I told her not to worry and that I could hardly smell it (that was a lie!). As our flight took off, I became quite nauseated by her smell. She became quite chatty with me, and I realized not only was I smelling vomit, but also smelling alcohol on her breath! I was feeling very tired, so I just sat there and listened to all her woes, her grandiose stories, and how she has lost everything and is heading back to Connecticut to move back in with her elderly parents.
The beverage cart came around, and she ordered a vodka and cranberry (this is what I used to drink when I drank the occasional hard drink), and paid the flight attendant to deliver her another one after that. As she became more buzzed, she started dropping hints of the truth about her drinking and why she threw up on the previous flight. She did not admit to being and alcoholic (nor did I), but instead, said she has a “little bit of a drinking problem”.
As I sat next to her, I was vacillating back and forth about how I felt about her and the situation. On the one hand I was completely annoyed and disgusted by her, and how she could allow herself to get so drunk and throw up on the plane, and on the previous passenger next to her! I was judging her and thinking about how I was never that bad when I drank. (Yah, I know!) On the other hand, I felt sad, and true compassion and empathy for her as a human being who is obviously suffering from alcoholism. I don’t think it was any accident that I was seated next to this sad, but very sweet woman.
There is a lesson to be learned in every experience. I think of the classic, and my all-time favorite Christmas movie, A Christmas Carol (1938). This situation with Dana reminds me of the scene where Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. This is the scene, ” through a sequence of mysterious scenes relating to an unnamed man’s recent death. Scrooge sees businessmen discussing the dead man’s riches, some vagabonds trading his personal effects for cash, and a poor couple expressing relief at the death of their unforgiving creditor. Scrooge, anxious to learn the lesson of his latest visitor, begs to know the name of the dead man. After pleading with the ghost, Scrooge finds himself in a churchyard, the spirit pointing to a grave. Scrooge looks at the headstone and is shocked to read his own name. He desperately implores the spirit to alter his fate, promising to renounce his insensitive, avaricious ways and to honor Christmas with all his heart. Whoosh! He suddenly finds himself safely tucked in his bed.”
There are no accidents. Dana appeared before me for a reason. If I continue to allow myself to chronically relapse and live in my own utterly chaotic world of alcoholism, I could easily be in Dana’s situation, or much worse.
This morning as I think about Dana. I truly feel a sense of connection with her, deep compassion for her, I hope and pray she finds her way and receives the help she needs to repair her shattered life, but especially to find the joy and peace we all receive while living a sober life.
God Bless you Dana and thank you for showing me a glimpse into my future if I do not continue on my path of sobriety.
(Crossposted from my BFB)