“Rachel, guess what?!” I heard Linda yelling at me just before she came into eyesight and bounded into my office. “Guess where I’ve been… go on, guess…okay no, you don’t need to! I’ve been at a treatment center for three weeks and have been clean and sober for 13 days!”
“Thirteen days?! That is AMAZING! I am so proud of you!”
And it is.
And I am.
Because truthfully, the part of me that is not as polish and ready to advocate at a moment’s notice, the part that’s a bit uglier, as it questions the goodness of grace and doesn’t always believe that people can and will change, doubted this day would ever come.
Linda and I have known each other for coming up on two years now. Most days she’s incredibly sweet, but she has had a rough, rough life from the start. Many would look at her past timeline and assume that the choice is all hers and in some ways, it is. Linda has made plenty of decisions that have been less than an ideal, but she’s also made plenty that should be admired – even greater however, because of her struggles, she’s had many decision made for her, as others have move and manipulate her in a way that could confuse and damage any one of us.
But she’s still choosing to fight.
She’s choosing to make new choices, ones that will, by God’s grace, bring healing and peace.
But you know what? Even if tomorrow she decides to turn back to her to her demons and give up the fight for way of her vices, she will still have me and she’ll still have 13 days in the year 2014 where she fought her heart out and made healthy choices.
And that is something to celebrate.
Because the reality is, just like any change we make in life, most people who get clean and sober after years and years of substance abuse do so cyclically – it’s rarely a one-time deal, to choose sobriety and never look back. Studies show that the majority of people who go to treatment do so several times before they are actually able to maintain sobriety. But each step forward is a step to celebrate. Each healthy decision didn’t have to be so and choosing to cheer these decisions on instead of chastising the past screams “I love you and I believe in you” to its recipient.
I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of friend/counselor/sister/human I want to be. I want to be someone who believes in change and is willing to walk and fight alongside those embarking on it, no matter what the circumstances may be. Because at the end of the day, I am not different, I am not better and I too need the bleachers filled with a cheering section from time to time, reminding me that I can do it and I am worth it.
Let’s love well celebrate with each other today, ok?