Baby Jay’s Journey

I had my message nearly prepared and ready to post when I came across something the other day by mistake. It spun me in an entirely different direction than I wanted to go but, as I have learned over the last couple of years, that’s mostly the way life ends up. This reminded me of something a friend told me in my early days of recovery. It went like this: if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. This short statement usually humbles me and puts my thinking back in its proper perspective.

As I mentioned, my original message will just have to wait. I came across something yesterday that mentally I needed to see. It got my thinking back on track and returned my outlook on
life to where it needed to be. While it refreshed me, it also saddened me. I guess I will just have to be strong and deal with the latter. Anyway, yesterday afternoon I was doing a search on
Yahoo. I was checking up on some small changes my wife, Amy, had made on our web site. While I was quickly typing in “journeywithjay” I must have left out “with” because I was taken to a web site entitled “Jay’s Journey.” Curious, I clicked on. When I was taken to this mysterious site, I was saddened at what I read.

Baby Jay’s Journey! It was an article written about a young baby named Jay Rowley who had a brain tumor and died on April 7th, 2000. As I read on I learned Baby Jay had only managed to live to the painfully tender age of seven months. The sorrow I felt in my heart after stumbling across this story filled my mind with a wealth of thoughts which I would like to share with all of you here and now.

I am an alcoholic. I sometimes get to feeling sorry for myself because I can never take another drink. (If I ever did take another drink, it would spell disaster for me and my whole family.) I also feel quite a bit of shame and guilt for having wasted the first thirty-four years of my life. I dropped out of high school because drinking was more important. I wasted my time and opportunities that were available to me in the military because drinking was more important. I lost several wonderful women over the years who I did not want to get close to because drinking was more important.

I often think of all the people I hurt and offended before I sobered up. Back in my drinking days my only concern was my next drunk, period! We, as alcoholics, have a disease.

I don’t always agree that alcoholism is a disease, but for the sake of this month’s message I am going to accept that term. We, as alcoholics who have not found our way to recovery yet,
still have a choice when it comes to doing something about our disease unlike Baby Jay. Baby Jay could not possibly have known what was going on in his life. Baby Jay did not have time to ruin his health by abusing alcohol or by filling his body with the poisons smoking offers. Baby Jay did not have enough time to become so angry at the world or the people in it that he turned to drugs or wild sexual behaviors to cover up or deal with the real pain he was feeling. Baby Jay hardly had enough time to grow up into a larger size diaper or enjoy his first birthday or even mutter his first words. Yet, Baby Jay was faced, through no fault of his own, with a death sentence.

A death sentence, which can be avoided, will happen to many of us because of the unhealthy lifestyles we choose to continue living year after year. Baby Jay had no real choices, but we as teens and adults (young and old) do. We all have a choice when it comes to doing something about our obesity or about the bad smoking habit so many of us cling to in denial or about those drugs most of us say we can give up any time. Or maybe those secret trips to strip clubs many of us men cannot seem to live without for one reason or another. I do not want to forget the alcoholic who will quit drinking after New Year’s Eve or after his cousin Ted gets married next month. It will always be some sort of excuse for people like us. But I can promise you this, if we all don’t stop these nasty habits and behaviors, they will stop us!

We have a choice, Baby Jay did not. We who are alcoholics and addicts had no say in the genetic code we were born with nor are we to blame for any abuse or misfortune that may have come into our lives as children. But the time does come in all of our lives when we realize we cannot stop our drinking. That is the day when we are responsible for getting ourselves to a place or person who can help us with our disease. We are not responsible for having the disease of alcoholism, but eventually we are responsible to get help on our own. No matter how painful that is to swallow, it must be the first step in turning our lives around. Enough misfortune will eventually happen to all of us in our lifetime.

Why do most of us feel the need to add to this mess?

I am sure that there are some of you out there who are at the end of your rope. Maybe you don’t know how to stop whether it be drinking or some other type of behavior or habit that is robbing you of your life. There are many of us who have been sober for many years who still feel lost and helpless on occasion.

I, myself, still have many days when confusion, frustration, fear and doubt rule my thoughts, but when I get involved in something bigger than myself, I seem to get through it just fine. I do not have to drink anymore to get back on track. Besides, all that ever happened when I did drink was a major derailment of the spirit. I just think we all need to realize things are never as bad as they seem.

Baby Jay is in a better place now, I promise you that. His short life should be a lesson and inspiration to all of us. Life is precious. Life is a gift. There really are no problems. We all don’t need to be as pissed off as most of us seem to be. Compared to Baby Jay, when most of us have the courage to face our darkest moments the way out actually will be very easy. We have a choice to change the direction where our addictions will take us before nature dictates that place. Baby Jay never had this choice. We all have a responsibility to Baby Jay and to others like him to make the correct choice today so that we can live our lives to the fullest and the purest. The kind of choice which will allow us to live the wonderful side of life that Baby Jay never knew.

Until next month, make those choices and allow your life to become wonderful. Give yourself a chance. Now, as far as things between you and me, Baby Jay, I am glad our journeys crossed. Until we meet again in Heaven I could use a little strength sometimes down here on Earth. Thanks! This is Big Jay saying “so long Baby Jay”. Bye, Bye sweet little boy.

By Jay Kolo