I have set the date for my departure from Birmingham for April 11, 2016. This is a special day because it is my older sister’s birthday. I chose this day for a very specific reason and it is fitting that this trip will of course, include her memory and spirit. La’Nelle was not only my blood, she was my confidant and best friend. She passed away at the age of 30. I have struggled to make sense of her sudden death for the last 25 years. Up until recently, I believed I could have done something to stop that house fire from happening. If only I had told my sister that Christmas Tree was too dry and that she should throw it out before having that dinner party. She asked me what I thought, I lied and said it looked fine. If only I had told the truth, the tree wouldn’t have combusted and set fire to the house. The blame I felt was overwhelming and soon thereafter began the slow but steady downhill path of my disease. I used her death as an excuse, I used it to pity myself, I used it to hold on to the growing anger inside of me. I refer to that long stage in my life as the “Dark Years”. When I say dark, I mean the blackest black you can imagine. I hated God and told him aloud often. I committed myself to the Devil and lived in true belief that he gave me power…bet you didn’t see that coming. This is one of the secrets that kept me so sick for so long. It was as if letting the evil take over me and embracing in the darkness, I was somehow hurting God. Thankfully, I know different today. I will celebrate her birthday by taking off on this trip, knowing without a shadow of a doubt, she is cheering me on. Today I realize that the power I felt all those miserable years was really my Higher Power protecting me from myself. I had to be lost in the blackness of that tunnel in order to finally seek the light again. Pretty deep stuff. This Recovery thing is pure coolness. I learn something new every single day, about myself and how my diseased mind thinks. Finally, some of my insanity is starting to make sense. All I have to do is be willing to stay steadfast on this path of discovery.