We Need Each Other
I don’t usually share stories like this with anyone other than my husband, but today I’m making an exception. I can’t stop thinking about this, and feel like I’m supposed to share it.A few nights ago I was out really late checking on a friend whose family was worried about her. Most nights I’m in my PJs pretty early. My friend was okay, so I headed back home.
I stopped at the convenience store down the street from my house, and noticed a woman just standing out front with what appeared to be a drawstring laundry bag.
She didn’t look very happy, and I immediately identified with whatever she was feeling.
We said hello and I entered the store. While I was walking out, she was walking in and we made eye contact. She had tears running down her face, and it was obvious she was in pain. I asked her if she was okay, and she said she was.
I didn’t believe her.
I went to my car and got a Sober Mommies card, wrote my phone number on it, and waited for her to come out. When she did, I handed it to her. I told her that I didn’t know if I could help, but that I would be happy to try if she would like to call me. She said thank you, I got into my car and drove home.
Please understand that in my 14 years of sobriety I have lost count of how many times I have given someone my phone number and never heard from them again. I had no reason to believe this would be any different.
The next afternoon, I answered a number I didn’t recognize, and it was the woman from the store. She was calling to thank me for my kindness, and to tell me that she was feeling much better.
Even as I type this I can’t help bawling. Words cannot express what that phone call meant to me. When I thanked her for making my day, she replied,
“No problem It’s nice to make someone feel better.”
Seriously, how amazing is that? I wasn’t even supposed to be out that night, and because I was, I received this incredible gift. I got to connect with another human being.
I still have no idea why she was so upset that night. I do not know if she has an addiction problem or if she was just having a rough night. What I do know is, it doesn’t matter. I may never hear from her again, but I will never forget her.
This might sound silly and insignificant to someone who doesn’t understand what it’s like to be the woman standing outside of a convenience store in the middle of the night, and that’s okay. No one else has to appreciate my past or understand why these moments are so important to me. Because it’s moments like those that fuel the fire in my chest and keep me moving on the days that I don’t think I can possibly take one more step.
It’s moments like those that remind me… my life has purpose.
I can’t fulfill that purpose without you.
We need each other. And that’s a beautiful thing.
Julie Maida lives in Massachusetts with her amazing husband and three children. She has been in abstinence-based recovery since May 2, 2000.
Julie is eternally grateful for all the gifts of recovery and fiercely determined to advocate for, and connect ALL women with the appropriate support and resources necessary to achieve their personal recovery goals. She writes about mothering with mental illness at juliemaida.me.