The Share


We asked these sober individuals about the worst thing that happened to them in their recovery and how they stayed sober through it no matter what.


“The worst thing that happened in my sobriety is that I lost both parents and a brother in a period of six months in 2007. The magic of recovery is by the time my parents died, we had a resolved relationship, but it was very sad. My dad and my brother died three weeks apart, so to be faced with the death of a younger sibling who died of an overdose and not having parents for guidance was very disorienting. I stayed sober through it by getting into action. I borrowed two of my sister’s kids who were really young. I had to get out of bed, I had to feed them, and be responsible for them. I did a number of things. I saw a medium. I didn’t know if I believed in him, but I was willing to do anything. I got a new sponsor. I started going to Agape Center to worship with people, and I started going to ALANON. I was inconsolable, so I grabbed every tool I possibly could. The interesting thing about my recovery is that big things like that do not send me out, they keep me in. At no point did I think I should go get drunk or high.”

—Kevin Chase, sober since September 19, 1999.


“The worst thing to happen in my sobriety is when AIDS hit and everyone was sick and dying. We had to go to hospitals and hold memorials for many people and many years after people died, we had post traumatic stress disorder. We didn’t talk about it. It was that painful. That was the biggest thing to hit me in sobriety, but I didn’t want to get drunk, I’ll tell you that. It was the biggest challenge to put one foot in front of the other. I felt bad, so I decided to honor these people. I lit a candle and I wrote their names ornately in a sheet of paper to represent them and think of them. I have that list to this day. I created a ritual. These were people I loved. Learning to do the ritual is probably what kept me sober.”

—Don Norman, sober since August 29, 1979.


“The worst thing that happened to me was watching my twin brother die of AIDS. How I stayed sober is I became more of service. I didn’t do it perfectly. I smoked a lot, and ate a lot of chocolate, and got a little fat, and a lot of the queens weren’t very nice. What I took from that experience was that I would be there for people who were going through a hard time. I would be that person I wish I had. After his death, I learned we are a spirit in a body and that our spirit goes on. I expanded my spiritual program, which included metaphysics. I don’t give a shit if people don’t believe in it, I’ve had a lot of communication with my brother. When you have a twin, you have a brother and a best friend all in one. I actually got more authentic in different areas of my life, which means what I needed, what I wanted, what I was willing to do, the people who were in my inner circle—all of it became more real, rather than just going through the motions of things. And I stayed sober.”

—David Miramontes, sober since December 10, 1984.