One of the toughest tasks we had to face was going through Lisa's car a few days after the crash to search for personal belongings. What we weren't expecting was the severity of damage done to the vehicle. Her car was basically reduced to a third of its size with the front end virtually gone. My family and I wore gloves to protect us from the broken glass and twisted metal as we were searching for photos and keepsakes that were important to us. We also took pictures of her car because we felt that those pictures would tell a story someday when we were ready to share them. The most important item we found became a miracle.

      Still stuck in the ignition, were Lisa's car key and key ring. I couldn't pull the key out of the ignition but was able to take the key ring off. On this key ring was a nine month token-of-sobriety which Lisa had earned while in her recovery program. Most importantly, there was a small black device attached which I thought was a car alarm. It turned out to be small flashlight attached to the key ring. Incredibly, that small flashlight still worked amidst all the twisted chaos of that wrecked car. The symbolism is very strong. It represents the light within Lisa -- the light within everyone. It represents hope in the midst of chaos. It's a spiritual connection that my family and I will cherish forever.

      That light also serves as a reminder that my family needs to carry a message to others, whether it be to recovering alcoholics, young adults, or within the school system. When I carry the message to different recovery groups throughout San Diego, that light serves as a beacon of hope. I make sure to shine that light on every member of the group. That light serves as an inspiration to get out and try to make a difference.

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