A short story, fiction-Lennie's story of addiction and recovery

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Lenny stumbled into the den to refill his empty whiskey glass.


Lenny sat looking at the unlit Christmas tree he'd put up the night before. He'd been drinking for days.

It was two years ago when he lost his wife Annie and his son Tommy on a busy interstate just outside Houston, Tex. The car she was driving was hit head on by a four wheeler. They both died instantly.

He was dangerously close to losing his job in advertising. A job he'd had since college, the only firm he'd ever worked at. His boss Edward warned him several times, " You've got to get yourself together, the firm needs you. Your wife and son are gone, there's nothing you can do to bring them back. " His warnings only danced around deaf ears. His pain was too deeply embedded to reason.

Lenny stumbled into the den to refill his glass. He attempted to pour a drink, but the much needed fix was empty. He flung his glass across the room smashing a glass top coffee table. He slumped down in a chair on the verge of passing out. In the distance he heard voices, children's voices blending together. Oh Holy Night were the words that lingered in his psyche. Stumbling toward the door, angry and afraid he wanted to tell them, " Get the hell away from his house. " When he finally opened the door he saw children, boys and girls singing cheerfully, eyes sparkling with glee. A woman was standing behind the children. He couldn't see her clearly, the children's shadow blocked his view. He couldn't see how beautiful Barbara was with her blonde hair cascading down her back, a sweet face, full lips and a happy smile. He started to shout, " Go away " but he fell passing out halfway through the doorway. Barbara noticed blood on the floor. She quickly dialed 911. The ambulance arrived and took him to the nearest E.R. He had a small abrasion on his forehead that only required two stitches but he had more severe problems. His blood pressure was 200 over 190. He was admitted and placed on a heart monitor and given a diuretic to remove excess fluid, hoping to bring his blood pressure down. The next morning he woke up with a pounding headache. He told himself that he needed a drink really bad.

He heard a woman's voice, asking him " How are you feeling? " He looked up and saw Barbara clearly for the first time. She explained that she had brought the children by his house to sing Christmas carols when he fell. He felt ashamed, yet he craved a drink so badly it was difficult to listen to her talk. She saw his restlessness and told him that she would go and return at a better time. The Doctor stopped by to see him and told him that his blood pressure was high enough to have a CVA, ( Cerebrovascular accident ) stroke. He told him that if he didn't stop drinking he would die a young man. He also told him that he would help him with alcohol withdrawal by giving him a nerve pill, the rest is up to you if you want to live. He told him about an organization called AA ( Alcohol anonymous ) that helped people addicted to alcohol world wide.

Lenny knew if he didn't stop drinking he would die so he started on his journey to recovery.

He was released from the hospital after three days of medication to ease his withdrawal. The social worker in the hospital notified AA and asked them to come see him. He promised he would attend a meeting that night. He was surprised to see so many there, each one stood and told their stories and the road to recovery. Their stories were much like his. Lost loved ones, veterans still fighting the war in their head's. He was totally surprised to see Barbara walk to the front to tell her story. She lost her husband in the Iraqi war and gave birth to a still born baby girl. She said that AA had saved her life and she was so thankful. Lenny couldn't move. He couldn't tell his story it hurt too much. Everyone welcomed him shaking his hand and offering support if wanted, each giving him a phone number to call.

He was feeling better the next morning in fact he felt like going back to work. Edward smiled and slapped his shoulder telling him, " It's good to have you back. " He got busy working on a project and the day passed quickly. When he returned home his hands started to shake. He wanted and needed a drink. He drove down to the hall where the AA was located. After opening the door he turned back and started to go to his car. He heard a familiar voice say," I'm here Lenny do you want to talk? " He turned and saw Barbara. All of a sudden his words began to overflow. He told her about his loss, his loneliness and feelings of despair. She listened quietly and when he began to weep she held him telling him, " Let it all out then try to let it go. " He felt warm and protected in her arms, a feeling long forgotten. He began the healing process, each day seemed better and finally he felt like he had something to live for.

The Christmas tree was still standing. He turned the twinkling lights on and called Barbara. He put on a CD of Luther Vandross's song, ' Always And Forever ' When she opened the door he swept her into his arms and danced slowly, whispering in her ear, " Thank you for believing in me. I love you. " She kissed him passionately, whispering, " I love you too Lenny.

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Comments 52 comments

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 12 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Ruby, Your stories are written with so much kindness and compassion. This one is a tribute to the human spirit and how people cling together in time of trouble. Thank you for sharing with us.


drbj profile image

drbj 12 months ago from south Florida

Awwwww, this was so sweet and lovingly written, Ruby, I hated for it to end. A perfect story for the holiday season. May your holidays be perfect as well.


clivewilliams profile image

clivewilliams 12 months ago from Nibiru

simply sad and beautiful


Rabadi profile image

Rabadi 12 months ago from New York

Very well written and touching story. I enjoyed reading. Mind checking out my hubs? Also passing this along to family and friends. I am now following you, keep the hubs coming!


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 12 months ago

Ruby, beautiful and touching story. A simple story of fate.

Blessings and hugs dear friend.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia

Beautiful story Ruby with the perfect ending for this time of year. Your experience at hospital/nursing work shows through. Well done.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Very well done. I could just plain old feel the pain. And then the elation. We want more!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

Funny comment and serious comment.....Lenny had it all wrong. If he just carried his bottle around with him, he wouldn't need to stumble looking for a glass. The voice of experience speaking. :) Seriously, a compassionate story as we expect from a very compassionate woman named Ruby.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Mike. This is fiction, but I've worked in a psychiatric ward and witnessed the agony of withdrawal. The pill of choice at that time was Librium. Thank you for kind and sweet words concerning my stories..


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 12 months ago from Central Florida

Beautiful and touching, Ruby. It's nice to read of compassionate hearts instead of harping on the ugliness in this world. This was a pleasure to read.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello drbj. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed my story and didn't want it to end. That is quite a compliment and I thank you so much..


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Clive. Yes I agree it is sad to be addicted to any substance. I'm happy you voted it was beautiful. Thank you so much.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Rabadi. I am pleased that my story touched you. Thank you for the follow. I will visit your hubs. Thank you for sharing.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Shyron. Always good to see you. Happy you thought it was a touching story. Thank you. Hugs my good friend,,


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello John. I did have some experience working on a ward and caring for patients with a multitude of addictions. Happy you enjoyed. Thank you.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 12 months ago from Arkansas, USA

That's such a sweet story and one that carries hope, something we all need this time of year.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Eric. That's what it's all about. Feeling the emotions in a story. I'm so glad you experienced that in this piece. Thank you so much..


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Bill. Lenny should have kept his bottle close as you thought. Hee. You are a funny man with a BIG heart. Thank you for always supporting my efforts.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Shauna. I agree. I've been thinking about terrorism too much. It felt good to write a feel good story. Thank you so much.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Victoria. So nice to see you. I'm glad you thought my story gave a hopeful feeling. Thank you so much.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 12 months ago from london

What a beautiful story, and appropriate time, too. I think Bill may have something to say about this story.

You gave it a finish like my poem, Hope, Sweet Hope. What I mean is that you gave the story Hope, and Barbara came at the right time too. Good on you, Lenny. So many of us like that out there. I see that you know, I mean, you even understand the Blood Pressure thing. (chuckle, chuckle)

Love you, Ruby. Have a great weekend.


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 12 months ago from Hyderabad, India

Very nice story. You have presented it wonderfully.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Manatita. Bill said if he'd kept the bottle on him instead of a glass, he wouldn't have fallen. lol. Yes, I like to finish a story with some hope for a better tomorrow. Love you too my dear poet friend.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Venkatachari. Thank you for a wonderful comment. Happy you enjoyed.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 12 months ago from london

Funny Bill. Chuckle here.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

He knows. He's been down that path. I wonder if he went to AA? Maybe he'll write about it. Good to see you again..


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 12 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Ruby....Thank you for a sweet and touching story, with a beautiful song to hear. Life brings pain and sadness to us all, and yet we're reminded in time of the rainbow after the storm......

This was a "teary-eyed smile" kind of tale.................Peace, Paula


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Paula I'm so happy that you were teary- eyed while reading this piece. Bad things happen to good people and sometimes we go off the deep end but hope prevails as it did with Lenny and Barbara. Thank you much. Peace my friend..


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 12 months ago from South Africa

Auw, Ruby, your stories are always so soothing. If I need hope, all I have to do is read a story of you. Angels like Barbara are not to be found around each and every corner.

Have a wonderful Christmas holiday, my dear Ruby!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Martie. You are so kind. Thank you. I've written a few stories with sad endings but my muse likes to write of hope, that is if she's in a good mood. lol Have a wonderful Christmas! Hugs my friend..


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 12 months ago from Shelton

The author draws the readers in, and once there they can't leave until the story ends.. that's how I felt always exploring :)


Tammy Gaudern 12 months ago

Ruby that's a very nice story! Their are so many out in the world Struggling with all kinds of addictions. And this time of year it can be tough. Thank you so much for sharing


DDE profile image

DDE 12 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

People are having their struggles in so many ways including addictions. A well-written hub. All my best wishes to you for this season.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Frank. Your comment put a BIG smile on 'me ' face. Thank you so much.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Tammy. So good to see you again. Holidays are sad for many people, including me. Happy to share. Hugs..


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello DDE. Yes so many people are struggling in many ways besides addiction. Hungry people all over the world. It's difficult to be happy when many go to bed hungry. Thank you for the well written comment..


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 12 months ago from England

Such a sad story that thankfully had a happy ending. so many people go through the pain of loss leading to drink, its so sad, nell


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Nell. This has happened in my family, and yes it is very sad. Thanks for coming by.


DDE profile image

DDE 11 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Hi always exploring, I enjoy reading your interesting stories. Your talent shows in all of your hubs. The ending is a good one though started of with a different mood. Happy holidays!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 11 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello DDE. I'm happy that you think my stories are interesting. Thank you. Happy holidays to you and yours..


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 11 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Oh I so loved reading your story. You wrote it so well. Its flows and while reading I immidiatly saw the characters in my mind. That is always a good sign. Well done


always exploring profile image

always exploring 11 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Nadine. I'm thrilled that it was visual to you while reading. Thank you so much, Cheers.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 11 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Ruby, this story is told so beautifully and skillfully -- not just with compassion but with a deep understanding. I had tears in my eyes when Barbara was there, at AA, telling her story. I think she saved Lenny in all the ways a person can be saved. This is a story not only for Christmas, but for all seasons. :-) I wish HP still had the vote up buttons; but at least we can still share. This is a 10!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 11 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Genna. Your comment is so very sweet. I'm thrilled that you liked my story enough to share it. You are a 10 my friend. Hugs.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 11 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Ruby,

Just finding this inspirational and seasonal tale of hope and love.

Beautiful - wishing you a peaceful, happy Christmas. Love, Maria


shprd74 profile image

shprd74 11 months ago from Bangalore

Alcoholism is a menace everywhere,

Addicts are but unaware,

Their actions are controllable,

Their reasoning is but illogical and extremely personal,

Making healing impossible.

Very lovely nursing story.


suzzycue profile image

suzzycue 11 months ago from Ontario, Canada

Great story Ruby. I love happy endings and Barbara was there through the whole story. Well done. I wish all AA stories were so well ended.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 11 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Mar. Please forgive me for being so late, somehow I missed your comment. Thank you for coming to read and leaving a thoughtful response.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 11 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello Hari. I like your poem. Thank you. Alcoholism is a disease that can be treated..


always exploring profile image

always exploring 11 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hello suzzycue. So nice to see you again. Happy you liked my story. I think AA works as long as the person stays with the program, unfortunately some fail to continue. Christmas time is lonely for some and they drink to relieve the sadness.


suzzycue profile image

suzzycue 11 months ago from Ontario, Canada

That is sad but true. I agree that AA does help to support some people. Nice talking to you also, Happy New Year Always:)


always exploring profile image

always exploring 11 months ago from Southern Illinois Author

Hi suzzycue. Nice talking to you too. Thanks again.

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