On the Eve of Eleven Years

As Ben wrote in his guest post for the Any May a Beautiful Change carnival, tomorrow, August 31st, marks the eleventh anniversary of his sobriety.

August 30, 2001: Drinking his last beer at a John Mellencamp concert (don't judge; I'm pretty sure he had a free ticket [also, my apologies for offending the John Mellencamp fans]).

August 30, 2012: In class at the local community college, beginning his first semester in their Certificate in Addictions Counseling program.

Ben has worked in social services for as long as I've known him. He has worked with mentally ill men, and severely disabled children, and adults with intellectual disabilities, and women who have very recently been homeless. He has always been really good at what he does. And he has always hoped that eventually he would get to work with people whose lives have been upended by substance abuse.

It is as clear a calling as one could have. He is a wounded healer. One always hopes to avoid the wounds, but what a grace it is when pain can be redeemed.

So tonight I am remembering the way his life used to be, and pondering how it could have been. And he is not just not drinking, but learning how to help people recover their lives.

Tomorrow night we are going to eat homemade pizza with dear friends and rejoice that one day at a time has added up to a decade plus one.

Thanks be to God.

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