Climbing the Ladder

A fortnight ago, Dave and I went back to our home town. We walked the trail behind our high school, where we met. For 18 years we’ve walked the same path. At times: happy, heartbroken, content, angry, energized, exhausted. We’ve had so many conversations along the James River. It’s the place where Dave proposed.

There has always been a rope swing, hanging from a tree, dangling over the river. While we’ve been gone, someone’s added planks to make a ladder.

Living with an alcoholic is like watching someone climb a ladder, and holding your breath, hoping he does not fall as he struggles to the top. Falling is dangerous. It could hurt you, or someone else. There’s nothing I can do for you. A person climbs a ladder alone. I can cheer for you, pray for you, but there’s little I can actually do. 

And you fall. 

I hope you can swim. I know you can swim. I hope that you will choose to swim.

Our goals are upstream, not downstream. It’s more of a challenge. Swim, swim, swim! Floating will not get you there. You’ll drown if you do nothing.

Moreover, our goals are upstream, not at the top of the ladder. While you’re trying to get to the top of the ladder, I’m already on my journey upstream. However, I’d rather be on the same river as you then go alone.

I have accepted that you have to get to the top of the ladder. And that you may have to climb the ladder everyday. Our routes may be different but the destination is where we’ll meet.

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