Heidi Davis of Delta will sign her book, "Ariel's Light: An Inspiring True Story of Recovery, Healing, Hope, and Miracles," at Bill Heddles Recreation Center Saturday, Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The book signing will be held in conjunction with the rec center's annual Holiday Craft Fair.
Davis is the first to tell everyone she is not a writer. She is, quite frankly, a recovering alcoholic who failed many times in her attempts to give up drinking.
From the time she had her first drink at the age of 4 — at a family Christmas party — Davis struggled with a drinking problem. When she moved to Delta six years ago with her husband and five children, she thought she'd finally be able to get a fresh start. Instead, the alcoholism progressed.
In "Ariel's Light," Davis describes how her husband Kevin and her parents did everything they could to save her. Ultimately Kevin decided Heidi was a danger to herself and to their children, and he told her to pack up her things and move back to Denver.
"I had hit several bottoms in my life," Heidi said, but faced with the loss of her family, she lost all hope.
"My answer was to die," she said. "That was my way out."
Heidi describes the long, miserable night during which she attempted suicide in front of her daughter and her friend. She finally passed out and when she woke up and looked over, there was Ariel.
"She saved my life, she helped save my soul. She was my light in all that darkness."
Heidi writes, "When I looked over and saw my little Ariel's face, I knew I couldn't possibly live like this anymore, and I realized I didn't want to leave my family and die. How could I have been so selfish to put them through that?"
So she went home and didn't even attempt to beg forgiveness because she knew her "sorrys" meant nothing. "I just showed them I wasn't going to drink."
The date was May 21, 2009. "I finally hit rock bottom. I found acceptance of my alcoholism. I realized it would never be different for me. My problem was I'd always tried to see if I could have just one drink. Surrender came, the white flag went up."
Davis describes that day as the worst day of her life and the greatest day of her life.
Then just seven months later Ariel was killed while walking to Walmart with a friend. The two were on a dark stretch of H Road, a road that has no sidewalk and no shoulder, when Ariel was hit by a car on Dec. 20, 2009. She was 16.
"I thought, 'Wow, I finally, finally got sober to have a better life and this is what happens.'"
But because Heidi was no longer a selfish drunk, she was able to be with Ariel while she was on life support, waiting for the weather to clear up so an organ transplant could get to Delta.
"The miraculous thing to many people is that I was able to remain sober through those days. Alcoholics are always looking for an excuse, and that's probably the greatest excuse ever," she said.
But she found strength in a habit she started the day she got sober. Every night, she wrote a letter to God.
"It wasn't a long drawn-out thing," she said. "I just asked God to remove my desire to drink and help me accept my alcoholism. As time went on, I developed a relationship with God. I was able to talk to Him."
She later realized the seven months she was writing those letters and building a relationship with God, it was preparing her for the difficulties she was about to face.
Although that time was so dark, Heidi felt the light of God saying, 'If you just hang on, I will not let you walk through this alone."
Her letters to God began to include the miraculous signs that made her think of Ariel. "I didn't need to see those things in order to trust in God, so I thought maybe they were for somebody else."
As the pages started to stack up, Heidi shared her story with family and friends, who encouraged her to have it published. She sought guidance from Willyn Webb, Ariel's teacher and a published author, and found a Christian publisher. Within weeks she had a contract with Tate Publishing.
"In AA we share our stories because they can give other people hope," she says. In the same way she hopes her writings can help a struggling alcoholic or show a grieving parent that though a child's death hurts and it's tragic, there's hope.
Although Heidi is comfortable sharing her stories at AA meetings, she admits it was a bit painful writing about Ariel and the accident that claimed her life, even though she knows it was just that — an accident.
"I pray before writing, I pray during and I pray after. I have to think it's going to help somebody else.
"This story is not just my story. It's everybody's story. Whether they're the alcoholic, or they've got an alcoholic or an addict in the family, it's in somebody's life somehow, some way.
"The same for dealing with death — that too we all go through."
Today, Heidi not only writes letters to God, she also writes to Ariel. "I feel like she can read the letter over my shoulder," Heidi said. "It makes me feel closer to her."
Still there are days when grief hits hard, when Heidi misses "her girl" and her giggle almost more than she can bear. It was on one of those days she took the photo that's featured on the cover of "Ariel's Light." The light from the setting sun shines brightly beneath the darkening clouds, silhouetting Grand Mesa and bringing hope to Heidi's heart.
"Miracles happen every day all around us. It's a question of what are you willing to see? What are you willing to keep your heart open to?"
"Ariel's Light" will be available at the rec center Saturday. Heidi will also sign books at the Delta Public Library Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. Online purchases can be made at barnesandnoble.com, amazon, itunes and the Tate Publishing website, www.tatepublishing.com.
"I'm humbled and I'm honored to be part of something so wonderful," she said. "I just hope my book will help somebody find a little hope."blog comments powered by Disqus