God, Grant me the serenity…
Hi, my name is Jessie and I’m an alcoholic. A few years ago a young woman came into my workplace with absolutely no experience and I was asked to train her. My job requires a lot of close interaction and working in small settings with the same people day after day. This young woman and I became fast friends – you do when you spend eight hours a day, five days a week, fifty-two weeks of the year together. We laughed and joked and talked and went out for drinks and our for dinner and we really bonded. She became one of my closest and dearest friends, because finally, I had someone my age where I worked that I actually got along with. I was so happy to see her thriving at work and in life as she figured out her long-term goals and dreams.
On April 10th, 2016, that young woman was killed tragically in a fatal, single vehicle car accident. She was driving on an exit ramp when she lost control of her vehicle and crashed into a tree. She was drunk at the time.
Its never easy to learn of the loss of a loved one, but its especially difficult when the person is so young and when the loss is so terribly unexpected. Its even harder when you find out on social media, and that’s exactly where I learned of the loss of one of my best friends. I was sitting down on a Sunday morning eating breakfast with my family. It was maybe around ten in the morning because I had just gotten back from vacationing in London and had a bit of jet-lag. Like any twenty-something girl, I was scrolling through Facebook to see what was going on when my heart sunk into my stomach. “RIP Amber,” and “Rest easy, Amber,” had been written all over her timeline. At first I thought it might have been some sort of cruel joke – maybe she had drank too much the night before and was suffering from some killer hangover or something. As I kept reading, however, it began to sink in. I pushed my plate aside and panicked, not sure of what to do or what to say.
It took me a couple of minutes before I could text one of my friends and coworkers. I can remember exactly what I sent to her. “I was just on Facebook and I read that Amber died in a car accident this morning. I want it to be a joke but I think its true. Go check and figure out whats going on.” The vivid memories I have of that morning still haunt me to this day. I can remember every text message, every phone call. I hadn’t said anything to my parents for over half and hour, although they could clearly see that I was upset about something. When I finally got confirmation from my boss, I burst into tears. My beautiful, young, energetic, twenty-two year old friend had died. The world I knew was no longer the same.
I spent most of that day curled up in bed, thinking of all of the memories I had shared with Amber. I kept returning to her Facebook page and reading the amazing messages people were writing. Seeing how loved she was kept me crying for most of the afternoon. Her presence in my life was a blessing that I didn’t see until she was gone. The conversations we had, the time we spent together, I took it all for granted and I would now have to be living a different life without her in it.
The day after Amber passed away I went into work. I was just coming back from a ten-day vacation, and during that vacation, my office had moved from one location to another. Here I was, coming back from a thrilling vacation and instead of being able to tell everyone about how amazing it was, I was walking into a new workplace without one of my best friends. Accepting and adjusting to the change and the loss was difficult, but overtime, we all learned to move on. Coping with the loss is still difficult, but through Amber I saw the Holy Spirit and I found God. Now, although the loss is still challenging, I have Jesus by my side to help me each and everyday.
I’ve said before that if it weren’t for Amber I wouldn’t have found God. It’s absolutely the truth. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and pray for her. These days in particular, I’ve been thinking about her more and more. Recovering from alcoholism and participating in Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t an easy task. Its time-consuming and challenging. Everyday I think about Amber, and how she died in a drunk driving accident. Alcohol is what ultimately took her life. Knowing and understanding this is part of what keeps me going to AA meetings. I know that I’m doing this because of her, and I want her to be proud of me in Heaven.
It’s amazing how much someone can change your life when you really only knew them for two years. However, when you worked together as closely as we did, you form an incredible bond that only strengthens over time and outside of work. I’m very grateful for every second I had with Amber. She was and continues to be a blessing in my life. And though I’m devastated each and everyday by her loss, I’m thankful each and everyday for getting the chance to know her at all. I know she’s looking down on me and is helping to keep me safe and sober.
Our Father, who art in heaven….
I’m blessed to be here with all of you on this 11th day of sobriety and I’m looking forward to many more.