Earnest Hemingway, my favorite author, and fellow alcoholic, was well known in literature for his use of symbolism. In his literary novella, "The Old Man and the Sea", the battle between the ocean and the old man is symbolic in that a man can be destroyed, but not defeated. I am lighting the square candle as a symbol of the strength I have witnessed here at Happy Turtle Treatment Center*, and from all of the knowledge I have gained from all of the incredible people I have spent the last 20-something days with. Drugs and Alcohol may have tried to break and destroy us, but it does not HAVE to defeat us. We are all strong enough to beat this disease.
My youngest son, my little prince, also struggles with addiction. When I called him and told him my plans to check myself into rehab for my drinking, he asked me, in all seriousness, "On your own??". He truly could not fathom the concept of seeking treatment with out being court mandated, or it not being conditional of anything else. So, that being said, in his honor, I am opting NOT to light the circle candle, in hopes of breaking the cycle of addiction in my world by embracing sobriety, As I begin my journey into recovery by finally setting the right example. No longer expecting him to "Do as I say, and not as I do".
Most, if not all of you may already know this, but for those who don't, four years ago, my 20 year old son died from a heroin overdose. Or, as the certified certificate of death states, "Acute accidental opiate intoxication" as his cause of death. Burying my son, my firstborn, was without a doubt, the single most sad, difficult, miserable, painful and surreal day of my life. A close second was possibly choosing the words to put on his stone. These words would be my final tribute to him, and will also someday mark my final resting place as well. I was barely functioning at the time, rarely, if ever, taking a sober breath, let alone being capable of forming a cohesive thought. Yet for reasons I still can not explain, this was profoundly important to me. I wanted his grave to be marked and I wanted, I needed it to reflect the love in my heart for him. Ultimately, I chose, "All my Love, All my Life", and I light this heart candle in memory of my beautiful Prince, my baby boy, who has held my heart for all of my life. May he and all of the others lost to this Beast, may he rest peacefully.
(you can click on the picture to enlarge)
*The Happy Turtle Treatment Center is not the real name of the treatment center.