I haven’t written in a bit- anything that I have put here that is. My time has been spent on numerous applications and Statement of Qualifications along with Cover Letters and Resumes; over thirty so far. All of that dedicated writing has garnered me six interviews in the field I am attempting to enter, two within just the past few days. Those who know say I am doing great since it takes determination to enter this field at the level of which I am attempting to come in at. Perseverance. Do you know how different my life is now than it ever was before? It is evolving daily- still. Gratefully.
Today marks a few things to remember, December 19th is my daughter Marina’s birthday- she is now 28 and December 19, 2008 was the date of my last sentencing for crimes committed- to date. I say to date because – well if I fail to remember where I came from or what I was like I may be doomed to repeat. I do not forget. I was given a gift, a gift that took a few years to grasp with my thinking and stubborn head; I needed to bleed a bit more before I surrendered.
I remember the day well when I surrendered for the first time, actually I was just trying to get to my mother’s computer where I had hidden a check writing program. That was all I really needed, her computer. My laptop had been stolen 24 hours or more earlier- not sure of the timing. Who pays attention to the timing when they are released from jail on a heroin charge in a small town like Jackson in Amador County, California? Who hails a cab because she has no wheels and heads straight to the casino? Did I mention hailing a cab in Jackson is not the easiest thing to do? This was way back before things like Uber and Lyft. Oh, and the who – that was me. Just a bit of what I was like back then. I was a nightmare who scared many in my path, especially those I loved the most. Family.
The surrender as I mentioned did not look like a surrender- it was just a manipulation for what I needed. The outcome became willingness. Willingness to enter detox for the first time ever. Detox. That is for addicts by the way- I was not an addict at the time. Or so I thought? I was just tired.
She was there for me, my Aunt Lily. She opened the door for me and thousands of others just like me. Lily ran the detox at the Effort for many years. That first time in detox was like a vacation- I just fell out. When they took me to a meeting after I was well enough it was like a field trip. The meaning behind all that is, I don’t think I took it all that serious. I did in my way. In my own little dope fiend way.
Lily passed away Monday night on December 16, 2019, a few days ago. It is fresh, the emotions are real and so is the gratitude. Lily knew me before I was even born, she is family. My father, a little known secret, was the very first to get her loaded. She often joked and reminded me of that and my dad corroborated it at least once in jest. It was more like a blackmail and the rest of the story I will save for another day maybe. This is about the numbers.
Not the numbers of times I ended up in detox, which would be four. My calls from another county or better yet someone calling for me and making arrangements for me to come in again. Lily always said the same thing, “come in well.” If and when I made it there I was safe for a while. One time I recall shooting up at the little VFW just at the corner, I just needed one more. After the fourteen day detox that in the end would become a ten day detox until the very end when I bounced on day three; there was usually a residential program she had already arranged a bed for me at.
Seeds. The seeds were planted long before I knew, long before I was willing, long before I came to believe.
The numbers of which I am referring to are the little gold numbers I wear around my neck. They will not be there again. The numbers are gone. The numbers that passed from woman to woman on their clean-dates are gone- but not the memories. The strength is still there. The wisdom is still there. The courage is still there. The commitment is still there and the love. The love that she showed me, the unconditional love- no matter what.
I cherished those numbers and the date they were always given to me by my Aunt Lily- my clean date, September 5, 2008. I now have over 11 years clean and I have Lily to thank for that and so many others. Lily would give me my number representing my years in recovery and I would surrender the previous year’s number to be passed down to the next woman. Lily had numbers up to 19. She had faded into a coma throughout those past few weeks and woke on the day she celebrated 20 years, December 3, 2019. The tradition is over and will fade.
Lily knew me. She knew where I had come from and she knew the people I had run with- she knew my family too. Not many people can say that about me. My Aunt Lily hand-picked my Sponsor and sent her to me in that very first program after she delivered me from the detox. She also stopped at the pawn shop from the detox to the program so I could pick up some things- you know how we do it. Lily knew. She knew what I needed before I knew. Although I didn’t stay way back then, I eventually made my way back. I am so grateful I made it back, that is not always the outcome for addicts in recovery who choose to go out.
I was afforded a gift in the end with my Aunt Lily and that is time. My beautiful mother cared for her since they, to this day, have always stayed the best of friends. She stayed in mom’s spare room until my mother delivered her back to the hospital. She was younger than my mom. How crazy is that? Lily was good and so full of life one day and then she was gone.
Hold on to your loved ones and cherish them while you have the time. Just love….
The Chicken Lady