April 14 is an important day to me.
Sawan was a recovering alcoholic. On April 14, 2004, he decided he wasn’t going to drink anymore.
I wouldn’t meet him for another year and a half, but that decision was so powerful. It made him the man that he was. It showed me so many things about him. It took courage, it took tenacity, it took commitment. It was such a big part of shaping him into the man of my dreams.
I often wonder what he was like before. I wonder if I would have fallen in love with him had I met him before he stopped drinking. It’s one of those silly things that we would talk about sometimes, knowing that we had been in some of the same places at the same times, but didn’t meet. Knowing that we had actually lived within a few blocks of each other, and probably ran into each other at the grocery store, but never knew it.
He went to meetings, less and less frequently as time went on, but he told me he always counted fishing as attending a meeting. It was a spiritual thing to him, fishing, and apparently was part of him “working the steps.”
In AA, they call the day that you stop drinking your “birthday.” We celebrated it as such. Our first year together, when we were only dating, I made us a picnic that we took to City Park. Not just any old picnic, but with fried chicken and potato salad that I had actually cooked. It was a little breezy, but he wished he had brought a fly rod to teach me to fish on the little lake there. We dreamed about getting a dog. We walked around the park and talked for hours. It’s one of my favorite days with him.
He had five years and change under his belt when he died. It would have been eight today. I’m just so proud of him.
There are some days that I can talk about him and our life together matter-of-factly, and then there are some days that when I talk about him, it just makes my face leak. Today is one of those days.
Most of the time, he acted like it wasn’t hard anymore, like it didn’t really bother him to not be drinking, but on a hot day, like on the beach in Mexico, or after doing manual labor stuff for me at the shop, he would tell me that he craved beer. Man, I hope there’s beer in heaven.