Reflections On Old Times And Old Friends

When you’re involved in recovery from drug addiction, alcoholism, codependency and related areas (especially when you spend a lot of time writing about them), you tend to see their effects in many places.

I just came back from my 48th high school reunion in a small Central Florida town.  It was great!  I got reacquainted with people I had once known really well, some of whom  I hadn’t seen since nearly half a century ago when many of us went away to college and then settled elsewhere.  I took a lot of photos for my own enjoyment, and to post online for my friends, and we revived a lot of memories, good and bad, happy and bittersweet.  It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

Some of those memories were of the ones who didn’t make it to the reunion — in some cases because we had lost track of them, in others because they were unable to make the trip.  And, of course, there were those who couldn’t be there because they’re no longer “here,” in whatever sense one chooses to interpret that.

Our little class, originally 86 strong, has had its tragedies, goodness knows.  One classmate was killed in a freak accident, when an oxygen bottle exploded while he was filling it for installation on a Navy jet.  Another died in an auto crash on a foggy road, and a third — a rancher — was gored in the chest  by a young steer not too long after a lung transplant.  From this life untimely ripp’d…

I noticed, however, that several of those missing were the party people when we were in school: the ones ready to offer you a beer, the stay-out-late, devil-take-the-hindmost members of the class.  The ones who may have grown up to be like the guy I grew up to be.  The ones who may not have had the gift of recovery that I have had.

I’m not saying that any specific one was a drunk, an addict, or both.  I’m just sayin’.  Six-and-a-half decades filters out the addicts in society.  Of all my drinking and drugging buddies, as far as I know I’m the only one in recovery, and the only one left standing.  Not many of us who fail to get clean and sober make it this far.  They say that addiction leads to “jails, institutions and death,” and that’s a fact for those who don’t get into recovery.  I know that applied to at least a couple of my oldest friends, and it has applied to a number of those I made later in life.

I hope it’s not going to apply to you or yours.

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