53 days….

Asked a friend how he was today.
He told me, “I’m good.”
Said, “I have 53 days,” and then he smiled the kind of smile that only comes with a sense of achievement.
By 53 days, he was referring to his time in sobriety.

To some, 53 days may not sound like much. But then I submit; try going 53 days without your everyday routine.
Try going 53 days without your cell phone or the comforts of technology.
Try going 53 days without your favorite foods, or your favorite television shows.
If you think 53 days is insignificant, then try to last that long without your usual crutches, or your everyday coping mechanisms.

My friend’s smile not only celebrates an amount of days in sobriety; his smile dignifies the fact that he walked away from something he once thought he could never live without.
As well, his smile shows the comfort of humility. His smile explains where he is as a beginner, but it also shows understanding that accomplishment comes in a series of successes.

“I feel really good,” he said.
“I feel proud,” I told him.
I feel proud because someone else in this crazy world of ours decided to face his own addiction and change.
Rather than give in to the sad complacency of drugs and alcohol, my friend chose to become a success story instead on another statistic, or tragedy.
I told him, “I’m really happy for you,” and I said this to him  with a slight tear in my eye….

I remember when I was little; my mother took me to the store to buy a pair of sneakers. The name of the store was Buster Brown and the sneakers were called, “Zips.” They were blue suede with a white design on the sides.
When I put them on in the store, I swore my feet felt lighter. I swore I could run faster and I could jump higher. Because of this, every kid on the playground would pick me to be on their team. In fact, they would probably pick me first.
When I came home, I ran around to see how much faster I could run in my new shoes. I ran up the steps, and then I ran back down. I practiced running in the mirror. I jumped as high as I could, because of course, I could jump higher now that I had a new pair of sneakers. Perhaps to a six year-old, there can be no feeling better than this one.

But sadly, the novelty wears off.
Eventually, age settles in and we forget to celebrate the importance of little things (like a new pair of shoes, for example.)

I use this as a metaphor and compare my story to my friend’s accomplishment of 53 days. Because of this, he can run faster.
He can jump higher.
He can live longer and happier.
Because of this, his smile is outstanding, and people will want to pick him to be on their team. In fact, they will want to pick him first because he is doing so well.

It has been decades since Buster Brown and my new sneakers called, “Zips.”
But I could sure use the feeling of a new pair of sneakers.
Sometimes I forget my daily blessings.
Sometimes I lose to the faded novelties and I forget to celebrate the fact that I have accomplished life: one day at a time.

I liked seeing my friend’s smile.
It reminded me where I came from and how important it is to celebrate who I am on a daily basis.
Good job, son
and thanks for the reminder


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