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Stories about addiction and recovery, Clean and Sober life styles


written by "Mark G."

When I first moved to Florida in 1999, I was living in Ponte Vedra Beach, which is between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. It was a breath of fresh air, and a new beginning in life. I'd been struggling with my addiction and I knew that a move of a thousand miles from Connecticut would keep me away from my substance of choice. It didn't. But, the move led me to meet Connie.  

There was an incredible chemistry between us from the first day that we met. She had the most beautiful green eyes and I could have stared into them forever. We got along well and could talk just about anything. She had an incredible sense of humor. We could have done just about anything together and had a good time. She was my best friend, lover and partner. As time went by, we spoke about getting married on more than one occasion. 

There was only one problem, though. She had five kids. I didn't mind, but I knew that I'd be criticized by my Dad for being with her. That was a roadblock that I couldn't seem to get past. It seemed like I was a puppet to my father's expectations and I was happiest when he was pleased with me. However anyone else might have felt about things, I can say that living with her and the kids was one of the best experiences of my life. I had a crash course in parenting and I'd like to think that I made as much of a difference in their lives as they did in mine. But, I could never get over the stigma of settling down with someone that my family wouldn't have approved of. I guess I forgot that the door could have swung the other way, too, as I was an addict: why should her family accept me for the path of shame, degradation, and destruction that I was on?  

Over a period of time, Connie became less important to me than my drug of choice and any relationship became impossible for me. As my addiction progressed, I began to deal with some of the repercussions of having to get "just one more." I ended up incarcerated for shoplifting. While I was locked up, I began to think about the person I'd so callously turned my back on. So, I wrote her, explaining what I did and where I was at. I never heard back. I was surprised, because she wasn't the kind of woman that would hold back, always speaking what was on her mind. Months went by, and I was released.  

When I got home, I tried to call her. The number was disconnected. I couldn't figure it out. This was too much, so I googled her. That was when I saw her obituary. She was driving home from her father's house up I-95 with two of her sons and hit a bridge abutment, plummeting down the side of the road just after I went to jail. Her boys were okay, but she was pronounced dead shortly after the accident. I will never forget the feeling that I had after I read that. My heart felt like it stopped. I had the sensation that I was on an elevator in free fall. I'd never see her again!  

I went to a meeting that night and I shared about what had happened, though I couldn't grasp the finality of what had happened. But, I didn't pick up. Sure, I made it through a very tough situation, but for many years I asked myself what I could have done differently and where we'd have been that day. I thought about her a lot, especially when I listened to county music. I never got to tell her how much I loved about her. How much she meant to me. And, I never had a chance to apologize and make amends to her for all of the things that I said and did while I was in my active addiction. No less, I'd never have the chance to.  

Today, I remember her, both in my heart and my head. I'll hear music on the radio and know that she'd have loved a certain song. I see things that were special to her, and they still make me think about our time together. She was a special woman and I lost her. I'll never try to play the role of my Higher Power and second guess what might have happened, but I do know that things would have been a lot different had I only stayed clean while we were together. I always knew that help was available to me in the rooms, but I had other plans at the time. It was all about choices, and mine was to take another hit off the pipe, rather than to accept her gift of time and love. I know she'd be glad that I'm in recovery now and would love to be a part of about my new life, even if it was just as a friend. One thing that I can say is that Connie, I'll always love you. I will never forget you and the happiness that you brought to my life.