Sept. 29: Donald is Craig and Craig has Hope

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Tiny White Box newThe other day, I told you about my new friend, Donald. Now, the truth can be told: Donald is actually Craig, and has given permission to use his name.

Craig is detoxing off alcohol for the fourth or fifth time. I met him in his hospital room, and we struck it off, just two guys with problems with alcohol and, in my case, drugs. The only difference between us? Craig has gotten physically sober—or at least gotten all the alcohol out of his system—but keeps going back to drinking with a violent passion, a vengeance. I, on the other hand, through no great ability of my own, managed to quit and have stayed quit for 16 years. People get into recovery for a bunch of reasons—lost jobs, departed spouses, suicidal thoughts, physical decay—but we stay in recovery because of community, because of friendships and because we’ve found our tribe.

Craig wants this to be his last detox, wants to put down the drink for good, wants to leave the twilight of the perpetually drunk. I know, because that’s what I wanted for the last years of my drinking. I’d lay off booze for a day or so, then feel physically and emotionally sick, recognize the beginnings of DTs and drink for my health. I needed the poison that made me want to poison myself. And so has Craig. 

Craig wants to stop and stay stopped. And he can. With your help. Let me explain.

Craig will be discharged from the hospital Saturday morning. He’ll take an Uber to the Hope Recovery Festival, calling me to let me know he’s coming. Of course, I’ll give him a hug, welcome him, and introduce him to everyone who’s around me. Still, solid recovery can’t be built on one jackass man and whoever he’s chatting with. It takes a community to welcome, support, laugh and cry with Craig. If you’re in recovery, you’re part of that community, the only thing that can help Craig save himself.

I asked four different people to write brief welcomes to Craig. Here they are. You come up with your own, and help ensure Craig knows he never needs to feel this way again.


I’m excited to meet you. What I read brought tears to my eyes. I hope you choose to come to the festival Saturday. Hope, and Keith, have become a huge part of my life and Hope and this community have saved my life. I hope that you too get the chance to experience the love and connection that will swell around you if you give it a chance.


Hey Craig!

I’m really looking forward to meeting you at the festival!! The recovery community here is amazing, and truly changed everything in a positive way for my sobriety. You never have to do this alone again!

With love,


Hey Craig,

You must be excited to get out of the hospital and start your new journey! That’s the last time you ever have to be there! I look forward to seeing you at the festival, getting to know you and hopefully being part of your journey!


Hey Craig,

I’ve heard so much about you and can relate to everything you’ve been through. You’re going to fit with all of us, because we’ve all been through it one way or another. Just know that asking for help is powerful and opposite of addiction is connection. So, stay connected, stay protected! Looking forward to meeting you brother.

–Rob D.

At the festival, please look for me. If you don’t know me by sight, ask any of the people in bright red Gilligan hats. They’ll point me out. Please, please, please come over to me and ask to be introduced to Craig. He’s a good guy, but he’s likely to feel raw. Internally, I mean; he doesn’t have any open sores or anything. When you meet him, please tell him your story. Ask him his. Welcome into the community. You’ll be doing him good, and you’ll increase your own support network by one more man.

After all,

You matter. I matter. We matter.

And Craig matters.


About this Author

Keith Howard

Keith Howard is former Executive Director of Hope for NH Recovery and author of Tiny White Box