May 21st was my husband Grady’s two year sober anniversary. Two and a half years ago, during Christmas break from college, our youngest son sneakily invited his father out to lunch. Unbeknownst to Grady, much of the family, our priest and I lay in wait with a plan for intervention. The date was December 23, 2016.
For months Grady had been trying to quit drinking on his own. Recognizing his poor success rate, he had proactively switched insurance policies to Obama Care, which covers a portion of rehab costs. He had even gone so far as to choose and speak to a facility in Tennessee called Cornerstone.
I knew from previous and private conversations with the facility that, if an intervention became necessary, timing would be important. They told me the most successful interventions came after the patient had been on a binger … when they were tired and guilt ridden. The holiday season is rife with opportunities, and Grady didn’t disappoint. The mother of all episodes happened.
I called Cornerstone Rehabilitation to talk about the admission process and for support. Because it was two days before Christmas, they had plenty of beds available and plenty of time to talk. They instructed me on what to do: Meet in a public place. Don’t let him sit down (or he’ll start negotiating). Have a small bag packed in the car. Leave immediately.
That Fateful Day
We were all nervous wrecks sitting around the lunch table waiting for Grady. If it had not been for our priest, we might have left. Our middle son, Matt, said, “Look at my face! It’s all broken out from worrying,” Our son-in-law, Alan, raised his arms overhead to show sweat rings the size of serving platters. We all laughed nervously, which may be why we didn’t see Grady approach the table.
When Grady unexpectedly said hi, we jumped, guiltily. In Grady’s usual humorous fashion, he broke the tension by saying, “Last night I was watching this show called Intervention and it looked a lot like this.” Hmmmmm … was he really?
As we all nervously laughed again, we rose together and handed him his pizza to-go. He tried to sit down but we followed the rules and all walked out to the car. He made a few excuses about having to finish up some work before leaving, but soon gave up the plea bargaining as his sons pointed out his packed bag, loaded him into his SUV and drove away.
The drive to Cornerstone is nine hours, but it took them two days. That story I’ll save for another time.
For now, I will just say Grady is the man I always knew he could be. He is happy, healthy and helping others to be their best selves, too.