Ten Things

lightstock_66582_medium_peripheral_images(Winner of CFW Event #18)


Taking that first drink when he was seventeen. That was the first major mistake of his life. One drink had led to another and then… he was hooked.


Stopping by the side of the road to help Jenny Garman change a flat tire. That was one of the good choices he’d made. They’d known each other vaguely before then. Seen each other as they walked through the halls of Dearbrook High, but after he’d helped her that day it had spurred a friendship. He never really understood it, at least on her part. She must have seen something good in him. Maybe she saw what he could be.


Taking that joint from Ross Harlow. That was the second major mistake of his life. Before long he was hooked on pot too.


Punching Ross in the face when he tried to force himself on Jenny. That was something he never regretted. Neither did Jenny. That was the first time she’d kissed him. Just a tender, little kiss of thanks with a blush of hidden affection, but it was a kiss, nonetheless.


Then he’d really screwed things up the very next month. Too much liquor and too much weed had robbed him of his good judgment. He’d spent the night with Alexa Martin.


Walking into the empty church the next night sometime after the moon had set and before the sun rose. That was a step in the right direction. He’d knelt down at the altar and spent an hour in tears, praying for forgiveness.


The problem was, it didn’t last. Three days later he was partying again.


Jenny’s tears as she yelled at him for throwing his life away. That was what convinced him to make a commitment toward turning his life around.


His problem was that he tried to do it on his own and fell flat. It was then that he realized the brutal truth… he was an alcoholic.


So he’d started going to AA. It was a long, hard road, but he finally got it together.


Those were the ten things he remembered most, the ten best and worst things he’d done. Five good things and five stupid, foolish results of youthful hubris and idiocy. He regretted so many of his choices, but asking Jenny to marry him wasn’t one of them… especially not now as he stood saying his vows.


Suddenly it seemed like none of the past mattered. There was only now and tomorrow and the next ten things.


© Whitney L. Schwartz


5 thoughts on “Ten Things

  1. So many times it is the first drink or hanging with bad friends that get kids in trouble. Thank you for writing this Whitney. I wish everyone would read it!


  2. A journey of ten decisions that has happened to so many. Those good decisions are often the toughest ones when we’ve already made some bad ones but made so much easier with Jesus on our side. Nicely written Whitney. Congrats!


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