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Tiny Angel and the Elephant

You’ll notice a little deviation in the content and format of this particular entry. I am getting vulnerable to help others; reaching out to all who might be struggling to let you know that hope is plentiful in this space.

Most of my friends and family probably do not know about my lifelong relationship to alcohol. I barely gave it a second thought until last year when at first my excessive drinking became an annoying habit, and then a health concern that I was not able to overcome. It was not until nearly impossible odds placed me at a meeting listening to stories just like mine last summer that I knew I could not manage this alone.

Considering our fear-based society, our focus on trauma and negativity and peer pressure, living substance free today takes unfathomable courage. It is not an exaggeration to say I owe my life to the people who have guided me to clean living. Following is my recovery story, told with a little angel levity to soften the pain of the telling. I dedicate this to all those who are showing me the recovery way, and to all lost and still suffering addicts and their families. I welcome you to contact me at regarding this aspect of my journey. Here’s the story:

Once upon a time in an upscale neighborhood, there lived a writer named Mary with a long-time addiction to alcohol. She was quite privileged, having been raised in a close-knit suburb, and educated in private school. She was also accomplished by society’s standards, retiring from a successful career and raising two responsible children to adulthood as a single mom and a published author. An Irish holiday tradition had her sip her first glass of champagne at a family dinner when she was just a child, so when she was twelve years old and a friend offered her a swig from a bottle of elderberry wine, she accepted. The warm, relaxing sensation that produced felt nice, so she created as many opportunities as she could to repeat that.

Drinking was a regular routine in Mary’s home. Her parents both lived the Monday-Saturday 5:00 pre-dinner manhattan routine, and then sipped whiskey on the rocks until bedtime. Sunday was a day of rest, so that was reserved for beers in the afternoon, followed by a nap. Mary’s dad let her try her first beer when she was fourteen. By the time she reached legal drinking age, Mary was already a seasoned drinker, and this was not unusual. Drinking was the cultural norm at the time, and became central to all of her social activities during high school, college and beyond.

This became so natural to her, that Mary was not cognizant of how drinking was affecting her life until she was married with her first child and her husband got arrested for driving while intoxicated. She made the choice to pack up her toddler daughter in the early morning hours to pick him up from jail. When they arrived home from that trip, her husband and daughter went to bed, and she laid her head down on her kitchen table, cried out and cried. That’s when the elephant first appeared in her living room, but it would take a long time for Mary to notice him, stepping around him for many years.

Mary confided to a friend about her husband’s DWI experience, and the friend told her about an organization for families of alcoholics. Mary attended her first meeting, got a sponsor, “quit” her own drinking, and got to work analyzing her husband’s addiction. Rationalizing that because she was not drinking, and busy with life, career and motherhood, Mary eventually stopped her meeting participation, and her addiction went dormant. When her children were in their teens, she divorced her husband, and began dating a casual drinker. Her addiction became active again. For six years while dating this man, Mary was a “responsible” drinker, often using her now teenage daughter as a designated driver. 

After that relationship ended, she would stay at home and drink with the excuse of raising a glass of wine to the sunset as evening meditation for the purpose of celebrating gratitude for her day. She turned this into her blog theme. What her readers did not know is that Mary kept refilling her wine glass until bedtime. Daily. Loneliness during Pandemic lockdown and the convenience of curbside delivery brought Mary to the throes of her addiction and increased her intake substantially. 

Mary knew that her drinking was affecting her health. She had fallen once after stumbling. And she especially did not like how the urge to drop whatever she was doing to head to the liquor store for a bottle of wine had become an annoying habit. She had begun visiting different stores so the owners would not know how frequently she restocked.  She celebrated a clean date of October 2022, and found she really liked how she felt. The elephant was beginning to stir. After three months, Mary relapsed, finding the temptation to drink with her family too difficult to resist. The elephant went back to sleep and Mary drifted from regret to rationalizing to promising to asking the Universe for help. And that’s when Tiny Angel stepped in.

Tiny was an angel-in-training who was only allowed to fill in for Guardian Angels while they were on vacation (yes, angels need vacations too). Angelica, Mary’s Guardian, needed a break, so Tiny was assigned to substitute. It just so happened that during this time, Tiny detected Mary’s internal plea for help, and saw this as an opportunity to creatively earn his wings. Tiny, despite his small size and stature, had always loved giant creatures, so he used the elephant. He woke him and encouraged him to trumpet loudly and stomp heavily. His noisy activity subconsciously restimulated Mary’s desire to quit drinking. Although she still did not consciously notice him, she set the date of June 26 (after her college graduation party) as her next clean date.

Tiny knew that Mary had tried this on her own before and relapsed, so he arranged a backup plan to help her along. June 26, 2023, Mary celebrated. The following week Mary was scheduled to travel to a distant village to meet a new friend. On the way, Angelica returned from vacation to safely guide her. What Angelica didn’t know was that Tiny had brilliantly orchestrated Mary straight into a recovery community. Her new friend escorted her to a twelve-step meeting. It was at this meeting that Mary fully became aware of and understood the meaning of the elephant back home. As she looked around and listened to the stories of other addicts, she heard angel whispers assuring her that she would never have to drink again, or feel alone in her struggle to stop. Relapse would not be a concern. 

When she returned home, Mary walked in the front door and apologized to the elephant for neglecting him for decades. She stroked his ears and trunk lovingly and kept him until transport back to Africa could be arranged. She also immediately found a home group and sponsor who helped her work the twelve steps for herself as an admitted addict for the first time, which was enlightening and healing. Angelica, who was impressed with Tiny’s brilliant plan, recommended that he get his wings (pictured growing here). He did. Ten months later, Mary is still clean and preparing to move to that recovery community, ever grateful for her friends, sobriety, angels and that persistent elephant. And Tiny has been promoted to Archangel of Giant Creatures.

The end and the beginning


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