Goodbye Sandy

I met Sandy toward the end of 7th grade at the graffiti wall where all the smokers hung out. She had porcelain skin, dyed hair, tiny feet and balls of steel.

You guys get to meet her next week. You’re welcome.

We were best friends for 10 years. Our addictions brought us together and then tore us apart. I watched the sparkle in her eyes fade as her parents divorced, she gave her daughter up for adoption and her father died. Yes, she was not the only person on the planet to suffer loss, but it was simply too much for her.

Sandy struggled with drug addiction her entire life. She used meth daily until she lost all of her teeth. Then she quit meth. Unfortunately, she switched to abusing prescription medications and those eventually killed her.

She was only 43-years-old when she died.

I write this blog because I think my misadventures drinking and using are pretty hilarious. Reno is hilarious. Sparks is beyond hilarious. And all of the characters I met along the way made me who I am. It’s healing for me to find the humor in my tumultuous upbringing.

But I could write this blog a very different way. It could be dark as hell and very tragic. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to be a funny post. Because losing someone to addiction isn’t funny. It’s simply fucked up.

There are no hard or fast rules. Some drug addicts can quit their drug of choice and can drink and use recreationally. Others cannot.

Sandy could not.

I’m coming to believe addiction as a disease similar to cancer. Some cancers are so aggressive they simply cannot be overcome, some cancers are defeated completely and some return. The relapse is generally harder to defeat, just as the return of a cancer is often. Some people beat cancer five times!

Sobriety was never on her radar. She knew I was sober, but she didn’t understand why I had to quit everything. Her brain was also damaged from all the meth.

The Sandy I knew died a long time ago, so this grieving process has been very strange for me. I’m happy that she’s with her dad again and I’m sad for all of us left behind. It’s the death of the hope of a miracle. When an addict gets sober, it’s a miracle.

I’ve been working a 12-step program for a long time, yet there was no magic cure I could offer her. Christianity saved her mother and sister, yet they couldn’t save her. In my experience, the only thing that could’ve saved her was a Higher Power.

So am I saying God hated her? Absolutely not. We’re born with free will – the will to surrender to something bigger than us to solve our problem. Maybe her disease was just too terminal for her to surrender.

Or not. I don’t know.

breathing-nuclear-fire-godzilla-176982_550_381

 

The best way I can illustrate this is comparing addiction to Godzilla. The addict is a little, teeny, tiny ant. Godzilla is ginormous and breathes fire. And here’s the worst part – nothing, and I mean nothing, feels as good as hanging out with Godzilla.

When Godzilla and the addict hook up, it’s limos and glamour and excitement all the way. We feel like we’re in heaven, but when we want to go home, when we get tired, Godzilla says “Oh hell no, little ant, we’ve only just begun.”

I have no idea when Godzilla’s going to be done partying and the addict has no vote for when we’ll stop. Only the monster has the power of choice and he can choose to squash us at any time. That’s the risk we take to hang with the biggest and baddest of them all.

We have to stay far away from him, but it’s not easy. I have friends who hang out with him still and assure me that he’s cool. I get in my car and there are billboards with him looking fly in a tuxedo. He looks so good it’s hard to remember how bad he truly is for me. He even comes to me in my dreams.

In L.A., I can actually call Pink Dot and have him delivered to my house.

I got in his limo after 15 years sober and he almost flattened me. Every time I’ve even looked in his direction, he’s been on to me. He’s magnetic. He says things like:

“Girl, we haven’t hung out in so long you don’t even know me anymore. I’m so much more chill now.”

“I promise we’ll just have a couple and then I’ll take you home.”

“You’re so boring now. What happened to the party girl I remember?”

If he gets me, it doesn’t matter how hard I fight, only an act of Providence can save me. I cannot fight him on my own. He only laughs at my feeble attempts.

I’m an ant, remember?

All of the knowledge I have about the disease does nothing for me if I go near him. He’s too magnetic. The years I’ve been sober only make him want me more. I cannot rest on my laurels because he’ll be right there, Gucci sunglasses on ready to go.

I miss Sandy. I got to be there after her family made the impossible decision to unplug her (because her brain was dead), and I got to hug her and kiss her and stroke her hair before she left this realm. I just returned from her memorial and my heart is heavy.

But I know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that none of us could’ve saved her from Godzilla.

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About courtrundell

Comic. Mom. Writer. Reno escapee. Recovering from alcoholism, drug addiction & bipolar disorder. I blame Reno.

Posted on April 13, 2016, in reno and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. beautiful sweetie…..
    love you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. But by the Grace of God go I……

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooph. Powerful.
    Godzilla and ants. Yes.
    I’d love to share this on my Running on Sober blog this week if that’s okay. I think it would resonate with a lot of people. If you’d rather I didn’t, just let me know. ❤️
    Hugs, Christy

    Like

    • Absolutely run it! Thanks, mama. Godzilla really helps me visualize my disease and its immensity. “The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power.” Hugs right back, Court

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Running on Sober and commented:
    Courtney is a new find for me…actually she found me! (Mishedup is a mutual friend)…but now You can find Her. Her posts are often humorous and light-hearted and fun, but sometimes she goes deep and hits you right in the gut. And when she does? Oooph.

    In “Goodbye Sandy” Courtney offers up a powerful goodbye to a friend and gives us a graphic look at addiction–as Godzilla–and us as mere little ants.

    She writes, “The best way I can illustrate this is comparing addiction to Godzilla. The addict is a little, teeny, tiny ant. Godzilla is ginormous and breathes fire. And here’s the worst part – nothing, and I mean nothing, feels as good as hanging out with Godzilla.

    ‘When Godzilla and the addict hook up, it’s limos and glamour and excitement all the way. We feel like we’re in heaven, but when we want to go home, when we get tired, Godzilla says “Oh hell no, little ant, we’ve only just begun.”

    Check out her blog and hit the follow button. I think you’ll be really glad you did so.

    Love, Christy

    Liked by 1 person

  5. beautiful and powerful

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I found you via Christy.
    Wow. Just wow. I’m so sorry for your loss, but am in awe of your resilience and strength to fight off Godzilla. Christy and I have had long conversations about the fact that an toxic addiction can be anything (alcohol, drugs, shopping, sex, sugar) or even a person. Reading words like yours reminds me how dangerous it all can be and that best to stay out of the ring. Damned the Gucci-clad monster.
    So nice to meet you, Courtney.
    Michelle

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hopped over here from Christy’s blog.

    “none of us could’ve saved her from Godzilla” Absolutely 100% completely true. No one of you could have saved her. She’s the only one with that power and she wasn’t able to know it. My sympathies for your painful loss. My struggles to understand and to heal my own addiction, and to deal with mild depression truly suck. But to be in the grips of Godzilla I can just imagine.

    What a beautiful way to honor Sandy, by writing this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is very powerful and moving and I am sad for the loss of someone close to you. Thank you for sharing this story and pushing reality to the forefront of our minds.

    Liked by 1 person

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