From the February 2011 magazine.

February 2011: Valentine victory

"Valentine’s Day has had a special meaning for me and my son. His recovery inspired mine."

I almost died and I know it, Mom. I want to live a little.” My son spoke these words to me one morning when I was struggling to get out from under a hangover. My son had nearly been killed in a terrible automobile accident on Valentine’s Day, 1978. He had subsequently been hospitalized for multiple serious injuries and had continued recovering for four months at home. We were discussing the plans for him to begin college, which prompted him to make the statement above and to add, “I don’t want to go to college.” I was
so moved by his words that I said, “Go for it, Mike;
college can wait.”

Later that morning I was contemplating my image in the mirror—something I could rarely stand—and when I looked into my eyes they seemed strangely vacant. I said to myself, There’s no one home. You look like a zombie. At that moment I realized I was dying. I too, wanted to “live a little.” I also knew that in order to “live a little,” I had to give up alcohol, and I didn’t see how I could possibly do that. However, the realization prompted me to take my first step toward recovery, which was to seek help at an alcohol clinic at our local university hospital, which led to my being urged to try AA. That first visit started me on the journey of my life. In June of that year (1978), my son had recovered enough to walk up and receive his high school diploma at graduation, and I was able to be there—one month sober. For the past 31 years, Valentine’s Day has had a special meaning for me and my son, and has created an enduring bond—his recovery inspired mine.

-- Carolyn S.

Gardnerville, Nevada

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