St. Patrick’s Day—My brother Don

I thought long and hard about whether or not to write this today.  On March 17th 1979, my brother Don, aged 20 and a friend who was 16, were killed in a car wreck in Pueblo.  Don was legally drunk and that is a fact that certainly contributed to this tragedy.  An hour ago I was sitting with 117 other folk at an AA meeting where we were celebrating One Year of sobriety for one of our members.  It was a joyful time.  In that old Denver Mansion at 13th and York, every day hundreds of folk meet in its many rooms to do together, what they can not do alone—“recover from the seemingly hopeless state of alcoholism”.   Almost 31 years ago I went to my first AA meeting and I was offered the gift 🎁 of recovery.  My brother Don and his buddy were never offered that chance. 

Don was truly one of the kindest and smartest guys I have ever known. He was born into a family where alcoholism was rampant.  None of us could see it at the time. “Sick and Crazy” were normal.  I will resist getting on the ‘Carrie Nation’ soap box.   I want to take this chance to do three things:

  1. Pay tribute to Don’s brief and beautiful life.

2)   Honor Recovery as an amazing gift to our world.

3)   Acknowledge that LYFT (and ride-share) in general has saved many a tear, as our culture recognizes that taking a LYFT when we ‘go drinking’ is the only morally responsible choice. 

Don— He was the youngest of four kids.  Born in 1958 as a ‘surprise’ to my parents.  I wonder on days like this what a 59 year-old Don would be doing.  My heart still hurts and it should.  He brought laughter and great joy to many in his short life.  Ever so often I will connect with someone who knew him and it’s always somewhat the same.  “He might have been the smartest and kindest guy I have known”.

Recovery—I did not find recovery; it found me.  Today I get to live an amazing life.  I get to show up and be present.  I don’t need to alter my reality with anything.  The best metaphor I have to describe what a recovering life is like, goes like this: Remember when we took photos and dropped the film off at Walgreens to be developed?   The pictures came in an envelope along with the sepia toned negatives.  You can see what the images are in the negatives but there is nothing like Kodachrome.  Today I live in all of the color and RECOVERY makes that possible. 

RIDESHARE SAVING LIVES— 18 months ago it was reported that DUI arrests were down almost 15% as a result of people taking a LYFT/UBER instead of driving.  I have had countless conversations with passengers where they thank me for driving while they are ‘doing their thing’.  Yes, sometimes drunks can be gross and irritating but I try to remember that maybe this ride will spare someone from having to meet the police at the front door at 5am.  Mostly the drinking crowds I drive around are grateful and thoughtful.  I will say this to anyone who drinks— THERE IS NO EXCUSE for driving if you are drinking. 

I did find out through Ancestry DNA that I am 18%  Irish ☘️☘️☘️.  I went to Ireland 🇮🇪 two years ago, and I say this to all my readers -; “Happy St. Patrick’s Day”!

Onward and Upward,

Mark

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