My Friend Sally

Sally was my best friend, our next door neighbor with a life that, confidentially, made everyone in our crowd jealous. She had great kids, an attentive, very successful husband, beautiful house and a wardrobe that screamed money. Sally was also an alcoholic. We talked everyday with the ice cubes clinking in the background. She always went out of her way to tell me that she simply couldn’t put down that “Diet Coke”, but everyone knew she was polishing off at least a bottle of gin a day. When Phil, her husband, took away her car, she walked miles to the liquor store; when he took away her money, she borrowed money from me for “food”. Over the years, she lost everything, her children, her grandchildren, her friends, but most of all, her pride and dignity.

Phil stood by her, supporting Sally through treatment, brief visits to rehab, bouts of drunken rage and the devastating news that if she kept drinking, she had less than a year to live. She and Phil never gave up. Ten years ago, she entered a specialized residential program where she committed the next two years of her life to regaining control. She didn’t see her children or husband for nearly a year. They gradually became part of her life again, building trust in a sober mom and friend.

She and Phil moved away a few years ago, up to a beautiful oceanside house in Maine, where they enjoy the quiet life, free of the stress of family, Sally’s alcoholic mother and the hubbub of a busy Boston suburb. Faith, persistence and, well, love finally won out. Weekends are now for visitors – children, grandkids and old friends. The weekdays are for her and Phil to enjoy the sober life, AA meetings and thank God for what they have or maybe, more important, what they didn’t lose.

Based on a true story – submitted by an anonymous friend of Lowell House.