Janie was my sister. We were very much alike. When I was a teenager Janie was in her twenties and she would never fail at being my big sister. I can still hear her saying, "Skip" (that was my nickname), "Skip, if you want to be a winner, hang out with the winners. If you want to be a loser, hang out with the losers." I looked up to Janie because she was the smartest person in my life back then. Back then, the warning signs about marijuana were not as strong as they are now andshe and I smoked plenty of it together along with many other drugs that were popular back in the 70's. I don't remember any "bad times" with my sister just the typical brother/sister arguments thatnever lasted very long. The "unspoken" amends always followed.Janie finished 4 years of college in just 2 years and became a CPA and later went on to have her own CPA firm whichwas located in the Florida Keys, Islamorada. Ironically, Janie swore she would never drink alcohol because she once had a boyfriend who was an alcoholic. His name was Wayne and he commited suicide by jumping off a ten story building in Ft. Lauderdale. But she did start drinking and she never stopped. Janie lived with emotional pain most of her life. She struggled as a teenager trying to find her place in a broken family choosing between our mother and father. It seemed like she emerged from all the turmoil unscathed but nothing could be further from the truth. No one knew how much resentment Janie had buried deep inside until she would drink at which time her demons would rear thier ugly heads. Resentment to an alcoholic is the same as drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Alcoholism will take a tragic event and make it appear so huge and so monsterous that we convince ourselves that its bigger than us, bigger than life, and even bigger than God. And that's how Janie saw her alcoholism, it was much too big to overcome in her eyes. So she decided to live with it and in the end she decided to die with it. Janie never oncewentto an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. She knew that if she went to AA she would have to face herself and that would be much too painful. So Janie had one last hoorah down in a Key West bar and from there they took her to the hospital and it was there that she spent the last days of her life. You see, Janie knew she was going to die according to her diary. Janie died a painful alcoholic death but she wasn't alone thanks to some friends of hers that took turns singing psalms around the clock. It was very painful but not nearlyas painful as having to face herself. This is what she thought and in a strange way I understand it. I cry as I write this because I miss her so much or perhaps it's because she left me something I can never repay her for andthat would be my sobriety. Her memory helps me in so many ways. I keep it alive every chance I get. I share about her in AA meetings and I wrote about her in abook.And I'm writing about her now because she was a special person. She was my sister!
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