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Six Years

Six Years

Wearing a cream-colored polo shirt and dark jeans, the young man stands at the front of the room.  Before him is a worn, wooden podium atop a small table.  His hair is cropped short and his beard neatly trimmed.  When he smiles, his teeth flash white.  Eyes are green, no, hazel under the ceiling’s fluorescent lights.

Seventy men and women are seated in rows of folding chairs watching him. They are staring at those eyes and how he stands so tall, shoulders back, unafraid.  That’s what they notice most.  He is not afraid.

He is sharing part of his story.  What they hunger to hear is, how did he get here?  Tonight they will celebrate with him.  It is his sixth-year anniversary.  Six years clean and sober.  How did he do it?

He tells them the answer is so simple they will not believe him.  Then he pauses.  Are they ready to hear this?  Where are they in their recovery?    He tells them –  what works in his life is prayer, God, and the Twelve Steps.  A few bodies squirm.  He sees that and understands.  But he continues, just as he does every day, sharing with them how he falls to his knees, affirming “something” greater than himself, that whatever-it-is that steadies him, helps him to find purpose and meaning, and builds his life one day, one week, one month, one year at a time.

The young man is my son.

And in this South Florida church on a Thursday night, packed with men and women thirsting for the wisdom he offers, I could not be more proud of him.  Or grateful.   Or hopeful for the lives around me.

Because if Jacob can stand here, others can, too.

 

 

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