Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday entry, where I find an important piece of gratitude to start my week off with, which for today is for a dear friend of mine who passed away last week from a drug overdose and his nickname was Bobby Beans.
It was just under eleven years ago now when I had the pleasure of meeting Bobby at a meeting in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. I was a broken mess at that point in time and hadn’t worked a day of recovery to save my life. Instead, I had become a well-worn dry drunk and had moved to Massachusetts hoping to start my life afresh. Little did I know that a part of that life reboot would entail meeting a vibrant and friendly guy in his mid 50’s who loved to make people smile and laugh.
Bobby was one of those guys that had such a sense of humor, it was very contagious and anytime I was feeling down, he’d make sure to say something that would always cheer me up, including calling me “Gumby”. But, I didn’t really get to know Bobby until I became part of a sober men’s meeting that was held every Monday night at another friend’s home. On the very first evening I attended it, shortly after beginning my recovery work with a sponsor, I was terribly upset about the state of my life and miserable on every level. I felt like my world was upside down and that I was never going to be happy again. Yet Bobby, who was present on my first night there, made me feel so welcome. As I cried and felt utterly hopeless that evening, he somehow found the right words to comfort me and a way to reassure me I was going to be ok. And he also promised me he’d always be there for me, and you know what? He never broke that promise.
Bobby was a man of his word and never judgmental of me as well. He accepted every facet about me from the onset, especially my sexuality, even though he was totally heterosexual during a time when many were still widely rejecting those who were gay. He also made sure to always point out the good in me and never the bad, even when I couldn’t see the good in myself. And because of that, he became a trusted friend and someone I looked forward to seeing every single week, both at that men’s meeting and my Friday night home group.
I loved spending time around Bobby in recovery and in general in life. He was one of the rare people back then that I didn’t want to keep at arm’s length and that was solely because of my spiritual attraction to him. Bobby radiated joy more than not and it was quite noticeable.
In fact, it was hard to walk in any room and not know where Bobby was, not only because of his bubbly personality, but also because of his deep, booming, and raspy Boston accent that made him so unmistakably unique. And while Bobby was in his mid 50’s when I first met him, you would have thought he was more like a 20-something because of his constant youthful and jubilant nature.
I watched Bobby work hard on his recovery from the beginning and for a guy who went 40 years with a drug addiction and faced a huge uphill battle from the start, Bobby continued to overcome it day after day and became a huge spirit of motivation for me because of it. I often told myself, if Bobby could do it, so could I. And both of us did, one day at a time.
But sadly, due to a terrible accident that came after ten years of sobriety and recovery, painkillers got reintroduced back into Bobby’s life and became the demon that brought his addiction back, like it happens in so many cases these days with plenty of others. And although he attempted to get back on track, he’d struggle finding continuous sobriety again until the tragic day of his death. Yet, that never stopped him during any of that struggle from still being a loving, friendly, funny, caring, and giving guy, who would never think twice about giving the shirt off his back to help another, like he always did with me.
Bobby Beans, or “Beanzy” as many called him, touched so many lives, including my own and I’m not sure if I’d have the level of recovery I have today if he hadn’t become a part of it when he did. That’s why I’m honestly having a hard time accepting the fact he’s gone now and really miss him, yet I’m still left with a tremendous amount of gratitude for all the times I got to spend with him, as he very much touched my heart and soul during all of it.
I trust that he’s making God laugh now with his infectious sense of humor and blessing all the heavens as well because of his presence. I’m so grateful Bobby that God brought you into my life when I began my road to recovery and I look forward to the day when I hear you calling me “Gumby” once again, hopefully as I’m entering the Light of Heaven…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson