She thought her addiction was hopeless until she received a token from a young girl.
- Posted on Aug 8, 2018
Nothing anybody did made any difference. Nobody could cure me. I was hopeless. In and out of the hospital four different times, a graduate of five rehab programs. I’d come out and get drunk and high as soon as I could. They said I needed to trust in a higher power. Turn my will over. Well, I believed in God. I just wasn’t sure He believed in me. Why was He letting me kill myself? Why wasn’t He stopping me? It was clear I couldn’t stop myself.
That November day I was alone at our house in the mountains. My husband was at work, and I’d gone on another binge. Crack and booze. All at once I could feel myself slipping over the edge. I couldn’t breathe. This time you really are going to die. I grabbed my cell phone and dialed my parents, hoping they’d pick up. Wouldn’t have blamed them if they hadn’t. They’d bailed me out enough and seen me steal from them, break into their house, take money from their bank account for another fix, another binge.
They found me collapsed on my kitchen floor, as good as dead. Dad did CPR. Mom took my phone and dashed down to the end of the drive, the only place she could get a signal. An ambulance rushed me to the hospital one more time. Or one last time. How many more times did I have?
They had to strap me down in detox, then took me up to the third floor and put me in a room, IVs flooding my veins. My body was a mess, my liver damaged, my temperature skyrocketing, my blood pressure stratospheric. My fingernails had fallen out and I was bruised all over.
The nurses came in every hour, checking the IV and all the monitors I was hooked up to, checking to see if I had a chance of surviving.
I tossed and turned, asking God the same question I'd asked Him a thousand times: Why did you let me do it? Why didn't you stop me? As if it was His fault and not my own. If I could kill myself like this, maybe there wasn’t a God at all. No higher power. Maybe those 12 steps were all based on some fairy tale. My parents and husband visited, telling me what a miracle it was that I was alive. “We’re so grateful,” they said. I wasn’t buying it.
One visitor, though, I didn’t recognize. It was early one morning, just a hint of sunlight slipping in through the shades. I woke up to see a little blonde girl with glasses, peering over the foot of my hospital bed. In her hand she was carrying a balloon flower, with a red balloon center, a green stalk and orange petals.
They should know better than to let little kids run around here, I thought, among the hopeless and the doomed. I turned away, expecting her to leave, but she came over to the side of my bed. “Here,” she said, “I want you to have this.”
I took the balloon flower from her. “Thanks,” I said. I wanted to know who she was, where she had come from, but I was still so tired. I dozed off.
The next thing I knew, the nurse was waking me to check my temperature. I asked her if she knew who had come by earlier. “The little girl, with the glasses. Maybe part of some Brownie troop that visited the hospital?”
The nurse frowned. “No kids are allowed on this floor. Are you kidding? We’d never permit it. I’ve been at the nurse’s station all day. Nobody’s been here.”
“But…” I sputtered. But what? Of course it was nothing but a hallucination. Another one of my fevered brain’s attempts to flush out the chemicals I’d fed it.
“Where’d you get that?” the nurse asked. She reached over me, picked something up from the side of my bed and held it aloft. The colors shone in the pale light.
I left that hospital a changed woman. Never took a drink or touched a drug again. I no longer wondered if God really cared about me. If that little girl had never visited, why was the balloon flower still there?
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