To Thine Own Self


These are not mine. I found these when I was unpacking into my new place a few months ago. I originally found them in a house I rented 12 years ago. That house was full of abandoned things. The previous tenant lived there for years and then moved out quite quickly. I asked why and was told her boyfriend died suddenly and she moved into his house. It was traumatic so she left everything behind. I was happy cause I needed a lot of the furniture and kitchen things she left. And I would get drunk and search the boxes and stuff in the basement. I called it “treasure hunting.”

I remember she had a niece. I found photos. Other toys. A Fisher Price record player. Or at least I always assumed it was a niece.  I never asked. She had some old clothes that I turned into costumes. Antique kitchen utensils I still have hanging now. She had an old, electric hand mixer that still works (and probably better than any new one I could buy now.)

I found these tokens in a box of old stamps and Japanese coins. I kept them because this was shortly after my first DUI and experience with AA. Did I, deep down, think I would try to go sober one day?

I always assumed they belonged to the lady that lived there that left quickly. Which makes me wonder about her. Was she like me? Were those photos a niece? Or a daughter of whom she lost custody? Did the traumatic death trigger her to relapse? Is she sober now? Is she alive? Were those her coins? Maybe they belonged to her boyfriend? Maybe alcoholism was the reason for the traumatic death?

I have been thinking of my dad lately. Father’s day is coming up. Plus his birthday. Plus his deathday. He died from lung cancer, not his alcoholism.  As a kid, I always suspected he would die from cancer. I just wondered if it would be lung or skin because he was a sun worshipper in summer. I never considered the alcohol killing him. Not many people do. We don’t think of what it does to our insides.  It rots our body. It kills our veins. Would my dad have been able to fight his lung cancer if his immune system was not already destroyed by alcoholism? 

I can not answer any of those questions. I can only find the answers for my life. For my sobriety. For my happiness.