By: Marilyn L. Davis
Do We Think about Dying?
My realization of the value of life was not an epiphany, striking me with profound insight and wisdom on living and dying; more of a learning experience from seeing how many lives ended quickly from addiction, yet how extended many were by recovery.
I am not in a particularly maudlin mood today while I write this, I’m just reflecting on how fragile our lives are and how quickly we die; sometimes, without ever-living fully.
Today, I found out:
- A friend from the rooms passed away after a motorcycle accident.
- Another friend is on life-support from an overdose.
- Yet another person I’ve known got a diagnosis of cancer with no hope of remission.
Probably not one of them thought about dying that day. These made me think of how casually we go to sleep each night, fully expecting to wake in the morning.
I do not think we necessarily take our lives for granted. However, I do not believe that we are always aware of how precious, and unpredictable life is.
We’ll All Expire Someday
While driving to meet a friend the other day, I was listening to news radio. I quit listening to music several years back as I like to play songs I want to hear too loud to drive. That is probably more a comment on my maturity or lack thereof.
A reporter broke in talking about a four-car pileup on the Interstate with two fatalities, two home invasions with three deaths, and a single-engine plane crash with the pilot dead. I would surmise that none of those people thought about dying that day, yet that is what happened.
Then I thought about all the people out there dying each day from overdoses, never understanding that there was help for them.
There are an estimated 23 million people in recovery, so that means a lot of people have information that shows people there is a choice between their current situation and a better life, the difference in dying and living.
Value of Life and Reflections on Dying
I have spent the last thirty-one years in recovery trying to value each day, be productive, and change, and I hope that I’ve contributed to lives. I’ve given love to the seemingly unlovable addicts and alcoholics who have enriched my life and taught me much. I have risked uncertainties in recovery and tried not to continue with predictable outcomes of addiction.
Lives Extended and Demonstrating Gratitude
Once a month, I conduct a recovery support group for HIV positive people. I drive a sixty-mile round trip. Getting into my car, I am like those people on the news, fully expecting to return home.
Many of these clients are alive today due to advances in medications available, and each has shared with me their profound gratitude for their extended life. Some of them have been positive since the early 1990s, and can vividly remember when HIV was a death sentence.
All of my clients have had friends, lovers, and acquaintances, who died before the age of 30. Many of them have experienced overwhelming losses as well as their friends dying. They have all lost jobs, careers, homes, cars, material comforts, or as one of my clients says, “I lost all the things that glued me together, and when they were gone, all that was left were the bare bones. I had to learn to work with just them.”
Bare Bones Recovery: What Is Truly Important in our Life?
“Each day brings new opportunities, allowing you to constantly live with love—be there for others—bring a little light to someone’s day. Be grateful and live each day to the fullest.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
I have no idea who reads my articles nor why, and I know that in the bigger scheme of things, that is neither my problem nor concern. Writing becomes like glue; sticking all the thoughts, feelings, and reflections together.
It as if I dumped all the 1000 pieces of the puzzle and glued them together where they fell; to fit them together to make the picture. Writing, editing, and making sense of the pieces let me get down to the bare bones of what is essential here.
What is essential today is that I am doing what I genuinely want to do and can do. I hope I:
- Write questions that cause people to ponder and reflect
- Show them how to act from their better qualities
- Give today and not take
- Encourage another addict who may die without having fully lived
Are you living fully on this journey of life and recovery?
I will listen, and I will hear. I will offer hope to those who might need it, and I will be a caring, compassionate person who is dying just a little more this day. I hope that you reflect on the following:
- Think about who you are, want to be and can be
- Find your pieces, make your puzzle
- Create a life of love, caring, and supporting others
- Leave a legacy of kindness while still telling the truth
- Put effort into being better today than you were yesterday
- Always have gratitude for those who’ve helped you
When I reflect, if this is my expiration date, I have lived it fully. And you?
Writing, and recovery heals the heart
If you are ready to share hope to others struggling with their recovery, consider a guest post. How something is said is just as important as what is said.