Rob Robinson

Sunrise Seven Eighteen

It was a morning that I won't soon ever forget. Life gathered all around me and showed me it was available but I needed to grab hold and not let go. The greatness of good was everywhere but yet I could only look at it and hope that by taking one healthy step forward followed by another that maybe someday it would weave its way into my shredded fabric.

 

           July 17, 2008  ~   I had been on a four or five day drinking binge, which was common place at this point in my life, and the only thing I knew was that I was suppose to get on a plane to leave Phoenix, Arizona and arrive in Philadelphia later that evening. The arrangements were made the day before by my family back east who were hoping and praying that somehow I would get on that plane, It wasn't going to be easy as I could barely pack a pair of underwear without puking. If it hadn't been for a couple of gentleman that I had met at an AA meeting I would have never made it. Fortunately God introduced me to Bill H. and Peter B. who arrived at my apartment in Scottsdale that day to make sure that I got to the airport and on that plane. I packed only what I needed to move without too much restriction through the airport. I left the rest of my life packed in boxes and considered I would never see most of it again. I didn't own very much. I was broke and had nothing of real value. My life had been dictated by drugs and alcohol for a long time and going to Arizona eight months prior was another attempt at change without doing what really needed to be done which was to completely stop using and drinking. But here I was on this day heading back to my hometown before I would be taken to a treatment center in Havre de Grace, MD. The very town that I live in today.

      As Bill and Peter got me to the airport I thanked them and told them I would be fine from here. I could barely get the words out of my mouth and as I reached for my bag on the ground I kept missing the handle to pick it up. They both looked at me with amusing grins and said, Oh no Rob... Who do you think you're talking to here? They knew that the only thing I had on my mind was the airport bar. They walked me to the gate area and made me promise them that I would get on that plane and not go to the bar. They assured me that with a very concerned family waiting to pick me up in Philly that it was most important to get on that plane and that the rest of my life was hinging on completing the mission of this moment in time. As I began to shake in the early stages of withdraw I nodded to them and hoped that I actually believed myself. I shook their hands and bid them farewell. They were a God sent and I would never see Bill again as he passed away a couple of years later. I did however have the chance to thank him through a couple of emails during my first year of sobriety. Peter and I have been in touch on facebook and we have shared in the memory of our friend Bill. As I sit here today with over two and a half years sober I can only believe that Bill is looking down with a smile knowing that he helped to save the life of an alcoholic who was knocking on death's doorstep      

       I boarded the plane and got a widow seat. The plane was full and next to me sat a young college student who hadn't bathed in days. The smell was rancid and I was sure that before the end of the trip he would have a lap full of whatever liquor my liver was rejecting at this point. After several trips to the hospital during the past month the doctors informed me that I was showing some early indications of cirrhosis. That  actually turned my thoughts from not giving a shit about my unmanageable life anymore to being a little more concerned about dying. But for the moment I was thinking of how I was going to get through a five hour flight and deal with this smell. I curled up with my head pressed to the window and pulled my shirt up around my nose. The smell of whiskey coming through my pores was much nicer than the BO next to me. I can only imagine that the people around us were in conflict about the drifting aromas. They probably didn't know who to hate more, the guy by the window detoxing or the young slob who smelled like he skipped a shower after a track meet. Then again, maybe they just blamed it all on the guy in the aisle seat who was passed out from sitting next to both of us.

      I watched as my plane left the runway and the Arizona desert went further into the distance. I watched as the cactus became specs on a canvas of sand that began to sprout ridges and then mountains. Through the haze of drifting clouds the patterns of man made counties and cities throughout the desert seem to be watching ever so sadly as my eyes filled up and the reality of my departure was in place. I thought for a moment how only eight months ago I watched this whole image in reverse. I thought about how excited and optimistic I was about living out here in the west and working in a music store doing something I loved. But I couldn't stop drinking and as this experience would fade as another distant memory in my life I had to somehow think about totally surrendering to something because I couldn't go on like this. I watched for as long as I could see the hot orange ball of flame that guarded the desert like the devil himself that guarded my alcoholic affliction. The next time I would see the sun it would rise over the Chesapeake Bay on Seven Eighteen. It would have a new light to it and a new beauty. The miraculous glow was no longer a fire reminiscent of the burn in my belly but rather a reassuring light emphasized by the magnificence of the peaceful waters along the Chesapeake. I was greeted by a person who smiled at me and said, "welcome... you never have to feel like this ever again". My life has never been the same since and I thank God everyday for keeping me alive and for getting me on that plane.