One of the things I didn’t anticipate in sobriety was the vividness of the feelings I would experience now that I no longer numbed myself with alcohol. The last few weeks have had me on a roller coaster of emotions, and the ride continues now as I begin another journey. I wish I could say I was traveling just for fun, but I’m not. That was last weekend when I wrote about heading to my 25th college reunion in Philadelphia.

I’m now on a plane to Houston where I will meet up with my best friend and her two children. Her daughter is having surgery at one of the top cancer centers in the world to remove a tumor that has been decimating her upper spine. It’s a major operation with a great deal of risk involved. So once again, I have a knot of nerves in my stomach – eager anticipation of the removal of the malicious growth in her body and return to her “normal” life and fear of complications or potentially dreadful outcomes. But I can honestly say that the positive thoughts of a successful surgery and recovery far outweigh the fear. Why? Prayer and faith. Not only my own, but lots from those who surround this girl and her family with love.

In my last post, I wrote about the bundle of nerves I felt while on a train to Philadelphia for my reunion – nervous anticipation of seeing my former roommate and closest friend after 20 years of not speaking, fear of difficult tests of my sobriety as I would be surrounded by people, places and things that were all major triggers of my drinking, and nostalgic yearning for the “old days,” when I was 20 years old and before the demons of alcoholism reared their ugly heads.

The weekend was wonderful.   My roommate and I managed to pick up right where we left off, both agreeing to leave the past behind us and move forward with our friendship.   We stayed up until almost 3 a.m. reminiscing about numerous hilarious adventures together. We walked the campus where we roamed confidently and carefree, 25 years ago and saw familiar faces and classmates that have grown much older.   I got to spend time with three other close friends and enjoyed catching up with them immensely. I was thrilled to see my book in the university bookstore in the section with other alumni authors.   Very humbled to even be associated with most of them.   And proud of myself for making it through the whole experience without the need to pick up a drink. Nervousness, fear, nostalgia, humility and pride were enough ingredients in my emotive cocktail for the time being.

I got on the train home, intending to write a follow-up blog piece but was far too tired. I actually managed to doze off for a bit. The emotional roller coaster can be exhausting. I got off, spent a week at home with my family (a wild ride in and of itself) and just got back on for another go.   Twenty-thousand feet up in the air, my current concoction is one of fear and anxiety mixed with awe at my friend’s grace and bravery as she faces this ordeal, gratitude for the opportunity to be there with her and her children, and appreciation of my faith and of my new-found ability to let go and let God and to turn over the things that I can’t control. Oh and I can’t forget, thankfulness for my sobriety which affords me the ability to be strong for someone who has been a rock for me every step of the way on my journey.  Please pray that this ride comes to a happy stop.