December 25, 2019 admin

1088 Days Sober: A Christmas to Remember


I did not know my paternal grandfather. He died a week before I was born. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for my dad to lose his father the same week his son is born.


As a kid, I knew we lived in a block house he built, and he started the store my grandmother ran. I’d later learn he started a number of businesses in the small dried up rural Georgia town I grew up in.


He was a meat cutter, carpenter, home builder and entrepreneur. He was also an alcoholic.


I never knew him but the knowledge of his life and death saved my life.


I will always remember driving back to Atlanta on Christmas day 2016. Like so many Christmases before, I’d make the short drive from Harrison to Dublin before grabbing a bottle of whiskey numb the deep sadness that drove me away from where I grew up.


On this fateful trip, I learned on the radio that one of my favorite artists Geoge Michael passed away at age 53.


“If you are in town I’ll host a George Michael listening party tonight and drink whiskey with you. Worst news ever,” I’d post later that night.


I don’t know what made me think of my grandfather in this moment, but I reached out to my Mama to learn about how he died.


He died of a heart attack at age 54 due to complications caused by his alcoholism. He had been sober for at least a decade. Some quick math in me head showed me my possible fate.


I was tired of the chronic physical pain and mental anguish I’d experienced over the last few years, but for the first time, while talking to my Mama sobbing in I75, I saw my mortality and wanted to live.


I quit drinking 6 days later. 


I hope one day in the retelling of this story  I can find the words to describe just how fantastical and life changing the drive back on Christmas 2016 was for me.


I often wonder how much grandfather and I are alike. In my mind I understand him I think, as only another human with the same DNA and upbringings can. I see myself in what I know of his story.


I fantasize a short retelling of his life as the prologue to the book I’ll likely never have the courage to write.


I will spend the rest of my Christmases remembering my grandfather I never knew.


Comment (1)

  1. Mama and Daddy

    Edit your story, your Grandfather and Grandmother started the store. After your Grandfather died your Grandmother and your Daddy ran the store. You need to write a book with each chapter being about how many days sober.

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