My Friend Vickie

In my every-70-days series (a little humor, I meant to do this once a month, but somehow time has gotten away from me), I want to write about another friend instrumental in my recovery, whose name is Vickie.

Vickie, like Joe, has been a close friend for several decades (I just felt my hair graying as I typed that sentence).  Like any long-term friendship, we have seen it all… weddings, births, graduations, holidays, vacations, milestone birthdays, the list goes on and on.

Among her many amazing qualities, Vickie’s power of observation is second to none.  Consequently, as I sunk deeper into active addiction, I avoided her (and many other friends, frankly), as much as propriety would allow (and, let’s face it, I’m sure I crossed the propriety line on numerous occasions).

Because I saw her so infrequently during this time, it was very simple to omit telling her about all my latest problems with addiction.  I was encouraged to out myself by friends “in the know,” but my thinking at the time was less is most definitely more in terms of support (because, after all, it’s one more person to whom I would be lying).

She actually had a sense of it, and asked me point-blank towards the later end of my 8 month “I’m in recovery but I’m really not” phase, if I had been to rehab.  Deny, Deny, Deny, the first defense of any good addict, but I knew the end was near.  I finally sat down with her and fessed up, completely unable to even look her in the eye.  She was supportive, but cautious.  I can say that now, with the perspective of sobriety, back then I was just so happy to be done with the conversation I never looked back.  The caution, as she told me later, was because she had zero confidence that I was ready to surrender to my addiction.  As usual, she was absolutely right, and another couple of weeks went by before I hit my bottom.  During that conversation, she made one simple request:  keep in touch.  Don’t let so much time go by between phone calls, lunches, visits.

Within 2 weeks I was living at my Mom’s, and trying to figure out what the hell to do with the mess that was my life.  Vickie called, asking how it was going.  I did not hesitate for half a second this time, and replied, “Let’s meet.”  As luck would have it, she works near to where my Mom lives; I think I met her that day.

Out came the entire story, lock stock and barrel.  At this point, I genuinely had nothing to lose.  Vickie’s first response?  She could instantly see the difference in me, by eye contact alone.  As always, there was no judgment, only love, but that is not to say she went easy on me.  She read me the riot act for deceiving her at the previous lunch, for failing to disclose information in the months prior, and for generally making the mess I’ve made.  Vickie pulls absolutely no punches, but the flip side to that is the firm knowledge of knowing exactly where you stand with her.  And, believe me, I needed the riot act read to me!

From that point on Vickie made time for me on a weekly basis.  We usually met on a Friday after my AA meeting at a Starbucks near her work (and my home at the time).  No matter what was going on in her life, she made sure to keep that appointment.  On a side note, Starbucks was about as feasible to my budget at the time as travelling to the moon would be now, and I really struggled with the idea of her paying for the coffee every week, but there was no question, and no arguing… She’s paying; let’s move on to more important subjects.

And move on we did.  When I think about those coffee dates, I’m not sure I would have survived early sobriety without them.  She was as much a part of my recovery as my sponsor was… I ran absolutely everything by her before I did it.  In some ways, her opinion meant more to me, because she knew the characters involved.  When a very traumatic interpersonal incident occurred with a family member, I would do nothing until I ran it by Vickie.  When I was 150% sure I was on my way to divorce court, Vickie talked me off the ledge every time.

And today?  Every piece of advice given to me by Vickie has paid off.  Every prediction made by Vickie has come true (reunion with my husband, mended relations with family and friends, miraculous life being fulfilled, day by day).

I had been encouraged by a few family members to keep a journal chronicling my process through early recovery.  It was Vickie who taught me about this interesting new social media, called blogging (no, I am not kidding, I had heard of blogging, but had zero personal experience with it).  I’ve mentioned this before, but my initial response, when she explained it to me, was, “Won’t that seem like self-indulgent nonsense?”  To this Vickie replied with her characteristic bluntness, “You need to get with the times.”

As usual, Vickie was right.  I proceeded to Google the words “word” and “press,” and the rest is history.  Without Vickie, there would be no “miracle around the corner!”

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Posted on July 3, 2013, in That's What Friends Are For and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Wow! What an amazing friend and what a beautiful way to show her your love and gratitude! I’m fortunate to have a friend like that too.

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    • If I wrote a post for all the supportive, amazing people in my life, I would have posts that would take me into the next decade. We in recovery are so fortunate to have people stand by us!

      Thanks for the feedback, Karen! I have been a little confused (as I mentioned, I am not tech savvy!), but I think maybe you have changed the name of your blog! Summer has created quite the disruption to my routine, and I have been unable to carve out the time I am used to for reading and commenting, but I will be over soon!

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  2. *WOW, what a beautiful tribute to your friend…….Had a tear. I miss my very best friend Debbie. We met when we lived next door to each other, we were 14yrs old. She even moved up to Oregon after I kept nagging her…lol…..but found she was riddled with an alcohol addiction I new nothing about until she lived with us for a few months while she looked for a place of her own. When she finally found AA, she started to become distant, made new friends there at AA. My hubby and I don’t drink much, nor did we ever in front of her out of respect. She finally said she just had to be around others like herself in AA?????……..We both started recovery about the same time, her in AA, and my in an out patient treatment program for addicted gambling & GA for awhile until my group broke apart. I still mourn our friendship after 36 yrs…………Your are truly blessed!

    PS…..Your & my friend Stephen are my 4th of July *Recovery Spotlight Blogs* it is now Up on my Blog Now my friend! God Bless, *Author, Catherine Lyon* 🙂

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    • Thanks, Catherine! And, as I’ve already said on your blog, thanks for the awesome shout-out!

      I am very sorry to hear Debbie took that path. I have heard of cases where people essentially leave their old lives behind. For me, I joined AA so I could get my old life back, and I am so thrilled to be able to balance both in a way that enhances my serenity!

      I really appreciate your comments!

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  3. Beautiful stuff there, Josie…as usual. I can’t say I can share a similar experience. Any friends (well, drinking buddies really) I had were long gone. I didn’t make friends easily and didn’t open up to them as well (a guy thing too, I suppose). So I am almost envious of you having that kind of friend in your life. It’s amazing who is put in our path, and your friend certainly has been there for a reason…or host of reasons. What a beautiful thing.

    Blessings

    Paul

    P.S and congrats on the blog spotlight in Catherine’s groovy blog. Well deserved, my friend. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Paul, and this is the second time I am throwing a suggestion out to you (I sincerely hope it isn’t too presumptuous)… but the idea that you did not make close friends easily, I wonder has that changed in recovery? I am guessing the caliber of your relationships has changed dramatically, and I smell the makings of an Awesome Paul Post!

      Feel free to disregard if this does not strike a chord 🙂

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      • Hey Josie – throw out whatever you want! As for your question – I can’t say that much has changed a whole huge amount. The only friends I had growing up were drinking buddies, and that’s it. I don’t have a childhood friend or anything like that. I was painfully shy and introverted growing up. Even with the booze I was still introverted. And after the booze, guess what? still am! I don’t really attract a lot of attention at meetings, etc. although I do share and get jazzed up on recovery talk (as you can tell by now), on everything else I am pretty quiet. I think I still close off and probably put out the “don’t talk to me” vibes. Outside of my wife’s friends (who became my friends through association – this happens with all couples as you know…lol), I don’t really have any of my own. I have two or three recovery friends, and that’s about it. It’s not a self-pity thing – it’s just how I have been my life. I accept it and if someone comes in and wants to hang out, that’s fine. My dad is the same – I think he has one old work friend and that’s it, and they don’t see each other or talk often. Sometimes I am ok with this, other times I do get a bit lonely or jealous. But not often. It’s just a part of who I am . I don’t see myself getting swarmed by applications for sidekick or BFF. LOL. I have my kids. My wife. My online friends (like you). I have human contact at work. Meetings. So I am not a hermit. But if my wife and I were to get married today, her side of the church would be packed, and my side could all come in the same car 🙂

        Anyway, enough navel gazing 🙂 I am very happy to be part of a greater network of like minded and wonderful people like you, Josie – and thanks for keeping the recovery fires burning here at the Miracle. And like Lisa said, thank Vicki for being her…and thank you for being you!

        Blessings,
        Paul

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  4. For once I am rendered speechless by your post. I am so lucky to have you as a friend! I continue to be awed by your bravery. You have been inspiring to me and so many others! Thanks so much for the kind words. Let’s meet for some coffee……

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  5. Tell Vickie thank you. I’ve got my calendar marked for 70 days 🙂

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  6. The world needs more Vickies…just like it needs more Miracles. 😉

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