Walking in the door to work this morning, my phone chirped the "incoming text" tone.
I pulled it out and this was what I read:
THEM: Day 1. Sad, relieved, a little lost. Staying close.
Well... damn. I knew this didn't mean it was Day 1 of a new diet.
ME: Yes. Please stay close. You are loved and all any of us have is today. You have great experience with the tools - listen to your heart and not your head. I am here for you.
THEM: I will. Thanks.
I hadn't seen them around for a little while (only a little while), but I didn't think much of it. Just because they didn't go to the meeting I usually saw them at didn't necessarily mean they weren't going to meetings. I'd had no idea they relapsed till I got this text.
I don't have the details yet. And when (if) I get them, they will both matter and not matter. Why did they drink? (Or use.) They are an alcoholic. Whatever poisonous icing is slathered atop each of our slices of addiction cake, whatever rationalizations in the mind, or destructive actions -- or destructive inactions -- are part of the equation in this case, the bottom line is people relapse because they are alcoholic.
This person had some challenge with relapse in the past, but had put some good time together. It makes me unutterably sad that they're going though this, but the fact that they're reaching out and (hopefully) going to get back in the lifeboat is very encouraging.
Relapse is not inevitable.
It's not rare... but it's not common, either. It's just a part of some peoples' stories is all.
When it happens, we reach out to each other. We listen.
If there's a post-mortem on the relapse process, and I'm part of it, I try to be very clearly non-judgmental, but also not cosign any bullshit. If my motive is purely to be helpful, and not to massage my own ego in those times (always something to watch out for), then I'm on fairly safe ground to (with compassion) offer honest feedback.
I hope to have the chance to see them later, when I get off work -- or at least talk to them live.
I pray to be of maximum service.
I pray for them.
I pray for all of us.
I wouldn't mind some help with that.