June 9, 2012 I celebrated 3 years of being sober. One of the friends that got me there was a dear angel, otherwise disguised as Chris Appel, R.N. and author of Christian's Story.. I know she wouldn't mind me using her name today. How do I know? Because that's just the kind of woman Chris was.
Let's face it - I piss the shit out of people a lot. I have harsh, abrasive, and stubborn viewpoints that would drive most sane people in the other direction. Why Chris, in all the wisdom she had, did not pick up and run is beyond me. Maybe she saw something that I did not see in myself.
I recall the day I called down to "Lambie's" office (some of you will understand that reference) and asked for a script of Antabuse. For lushes like me, the nasty drug Antabuse (am I even spelling that right?) is the magic drug that makes alcohol entering your system like having to relive another 4 years of Barack Obama. The purging begins and never stops. At any rate, Chris called me about an hour later, asking me why I needed this drug. "Today I have decided to stop drinking forever, and I might need some help, just in case". No lectures, no judgments...just a simple acceptance of "You have begun a new day and God is watching over you. I am proud of you". She filled the script. I took only 3, over the course of one week, although I quit cold turkey after years of being a functional alcoholic. So, I never had to live that purge and wretch fest...although the thought of Barack Obama ever being re-elected just might bring me to a heave.
Over the months, Chris reminded me that the demon that is booze is a tough one. He knows how to sneak his way in to our lives. Dear sweet Chris reminded me that aside from her loving me, God loved me too and that I could overcome the addiction with prayer, determination and people that believed in me. Let me tell you - she wasn't kidding.
Not too long ago, Chris and I had a great conversation, late at night, because I was feeling the "urge". Very calmly, over the phone, I felt this surge of love comes through the telephone lines. Not condemnation, nor judgment. She listened to me, heard what was eating at me, and then we prayed at about. Within minutes, the urge was gone.
When she wrote "Christian's Story" which I have included in previous blogs, I started to really be able to recognize what I had done to my own children, to my husband and my friends. First and foremost..thank you for all thinking me worthy of the efforts for tolerating me. Chris' wisdom, along with her son's bravery and grandson's excellent observations have given me the determination not to fail. And I mean NEVER, EVER FAIL. To do so would dishonor not only those that love me, but ruin the memory of one incredible woman-Chris.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a beach chair, in Ventura, CA...and took a picture of my feet. Its a very odd habit I have of making sure my feet are remembered in vacations or journeys. I called Chris and had a few minutes to chat. I told her of my misery at being unemployed, and wondering about God's plan for me. She told me about the doors that open to us. She made suggestions of what might be a spot for me in life. She encouraged me to keep blogging, never give up the dream of becoming a published author and to believe in myself as much as she did me. Just what can you say about that?
Today, when my friend (another fool who tolerates me) called me with the news of Chris' passing, I sat in shock. There next to Central Park Liquor and also with a bag of groceries in the back of the car. I had to laugh and cry at the same time. No, the Jameson might have been easy to swig, but the challenge of eating a once frozen, now melted coconut Popsicle seems much more what Chris would have wanted from me.
So, sweetest of sisters, and giver of eternal hope, wisdom and undying love for everyone - I eat a melted Coconut Popsicle in your honor. Sleep well in our Lord's loving arms. Thank You!.