Moose (my roommate, for those who have forgotten) and I were recently watching World War Z (the first time for both of us), and making snide commentary in between small screams and phrases like “I don’t like it!” or “That’s gross!” or “Nonononono!”

We came to the part where Brad Pitt is running through the streets of Jerusalem with a group of soldiers, chased by zombies of course, and one of the soldiers gets bitten. Brad Pitt, in all his quick-thinking wit, cuts off her arm to stop the spread of infection. She starts screaming, making such a big echo in the space they were in, that zombies were attracted to where they were and started chasing them again. The entire time the character was screaming, Moose and I had the following conversation:

“She really needs to stop screaming!”

“She’s in pain, what did you expect?”

“I expected a trained soldier, who knows that she should be quiet, to know better!”

“That’s true. I suppose she doesn’t have to be screaming.”

“No, she doesn’t! She could just bite down on that leather strap she’s wearing that is conveniently two inches from her mouth, and she’d be fine right now.”

“As it is, she’s gonna get them killed.”

You know the phrase, “bite the bullet“? It is a historical phrase or term that has derived from the practice of individuals biting down on something (a stick, a rock, leather, or a bullet) to avoid crying out in pain. Now, it’s a phrase used to tell someone to buck up and persevere through a hard or difficult thing in front of them.

The irony of that is not lost on me, as I have been forced to knuckle down and apply to jobs (one of my least favorite things to do, if you recall). Nor was it lost on Moose.

Moose is a recovering alcoholic, Her story is her own to tell, but let it suffice to say that she has been addicted since the age of 11 and has had an on-again, off-again relationship with alcohol ever since. She had been doing really well, going on 4 years sober, when she had a setback this last autumn. She knew she was going down a road that she didn’t want to be on when she was tempted to drink while at work, and she came clean to herself, to me, and to everyone else in her life. She started going to AA meetings again, and is now almost 70 days sober.

Going to those meetings, though, and going through the steps of AA, those were hard for her. They still are difficult. Those first few weeks, she would come home crying from almost every meeting. We’d be talking in the kitchen and she’d burst into tears, because the desire for alcohol was so painful.

It has gotten better as time has gone on, but I still see the pain in her eyes. We talk about it, too, and I am now considered an accountability partner to help her continue to do things that will help her through this. I am so proud of her and amazed at her hard work.

Struggling through her alcoholism isn’t like biting down on a rose stem, that’s for sure. It’s definitely more like a bullet, if not a diamond. I can’t comprehend how difficult it was and is for Moose to fight against this addiction, but I can stand beside her and encourage her. She might not be in a zombie apocalypse, but she at least knows to bite her bullet for her own good. I’m just proud to witness it.