Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Last night I attended a birthday celebration for my nephew.
My nephew is 25 years old.
But last night was his one year birthday.
He had a year of sobriety.

My nephew is like a lot of other kids I know.
He grew up in a fairly affluent home.
With a mom and dad who loved him and his sister.
And each other. A lot.
He graduated from high school in the top quarter of his class.
Went 900 miles to college.
Played lacrosse.
And started drinking.
And then somehow
the drinking
became more important
than college or lacrosse.

Senior year,
with only one semester left to finish
Greg dropped out of school.
Went into rehab.
Went into rehab again.
Went into rehab a third time.
Moved into a halfway house.
Got a job with a furniture rental company
And fought
and scrambled
and clawed his way
to a year of sobriety.

Last night
we had a birthday dinner.
Greg's mom and dad,
my other sister (23 years of sobriety),
my mom (3 years of sobriety).
and eight friends
from his journey
met for dinner
at a local steakhouse
then attended an AA meeting
where 40 some odd people
who are on Greg's journey
drank coffee
ate chocolate cake
and celebrated one year
of incredibly hard work.

Happy birthday, Greg.
Here's to many more.


writekimwrite said...

What a story of perseverance. I hear the struggle in these words
And fought
And scrambled
And clawed his way
to a year of sobriety
Drinking to excess has such a lure for some and can lead to such destruction. What a joyful celebration this must have been. Yes Happy Birthday Greg! The first and the twenty-fifth.

Katherine Sokolowski said...

What a hard fight he has had, but one year is amazing. Happy Birthday to Greg indeed.

Deb Day said...

Congrats to Greg for the keeping up the fight. And lucky Greg for having so many people to love and support him through this. Sobriety is such a huge accomplishment.

Andrea said...

This is amazing! I love the way you wrote this post in a poetic form. Congratulations to Greg.

Michelle said...

Oh, I got chills reading this. It has to be so difficult every. single. day. That's the scary and hard part of parenting (and being an auntie!) - that lack of control and downward spiral of those we love so deeply.

Keep up the fight and congrats to Greg for one year!

Dana said...

Well crafted. I wish him many more birthdays like this one in which he is celebrating his successful journey.

Beverley Baird said...

Congratulations to Greg and a happy birthday. What a lot of courage and perserverance to achieve that goal. He has so much suopport which will help him .

Cathy said...

Powerful, Carol. Just powerful. How quickly our lives can fall out of balance. You told the story so well. These lines were breathtaking:

And then somehow
the drinking
became more important
than college or lacrosse.

And fought
and scrambled
and clawed his way

What strength!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

What a joyous celebration it must have been...and
deservedly so!

Linda B said...

Carol, Congratulations to your nephew for the courage & strength he has shown. I think it must have been a very happy celebration!

Karen said...

What a tribute to the resiliency within this young man. How easy would it have been to give up when reaching some of these roadblocks? And I think it's only fitting that you all ended the celebration at an AA meeting - what a way to honor the hard work he's done to get back to where he is today.

Carol said...

Thanks so much for all your kind comments! Greg has travelled a long road and is growing into the remarkable young man I have always known lived inside of him. I should have said, too, that he is now back in school, taking 15 hours of upper division history classes, with the goal of graduating with a history degree in December. And he is playing on a lacrosse team also.

Nanc said...

Amazing strength...the people along the way are so important. Every day...a prayer. Thanks for this. xo

Today I Love said...

Thanks so much for sharing such powerful words. I agree with the others that the poetic form really captures his struggle...and your pride in him. Happy Birthday Greg!