Thursday, November 20, 2008


Today is the 20th sober birthday of my friend and SCUBA partner, Brian B.

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Brian died -- sober for 13.5 years -- six and a half years ago now, but as a direct result of his drinking and using. The Hepatitis B which had gone dormant after infecting him just before he got clean and sober woke up all of a sudden in 2002 and killed him in a matter of about eight weeks.

Friends who go to AA meetings have told me that many groups have the custom of commemorating milestones of recovery by giving out 'chips' on the occasion of a person's sober birthday. During the first year of sobriety they're usually plastic (24 hours, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 6 months, 9 months), and thereafter they're metal coins marking each sober year.

After Brian's death, I found a box in his house which contained all the chips he'd gotten in AA and NA. Unlike me (a packrat), he never saved *anything*, so he clearly treasured those chips.

This is the first year since his death that I've not gone to his grave to leave him one for his latest birthday.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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