Memory Lane – Background

During our addictions, at one time or another we suddenly come to our senses, knowing what we must do if we are to have any future. As my ten year sober anniversary comes closer, I’ve given readers an insight of where my head was swimming in my alcoholism – “A Year Ago Today – A Memory“. It doesn’t paint a complete picture of the chaos in my life at that time.  While there was hope, my alcoholism’s death grip continued to get tighter by the day. At the time I was living alone in a two bedroom trailer swimming in cases of Milwakee’s Best beer.

At various times of the last couple of months I reached out to my old employer hoping I would be rehired for seasonal work. Instead he sent me a devastating email, “Based on past work performance, we have decided not to employ you at this time.” I remember saying to myself, “How could he not? Who does he think he is? If I’m not employed that place is not going to function.” Now what do I do? I’ll find another job – tomorrow. Let’s have another couple of beers.

As tomorrow became the next day and the next, my financial situation was a complete train wreck as six weeks of unemployment was about to run out. The landline phone was cut off and my internet service disconnected as the bill went unpaid. My landlord, through what I believed to be master manipulation, was waiting for three months of back rent. The electricity company was threatening shut off. Financial assistance would be given only if I paid my past due amount. In addition, I was getting five gallons of kerosene every other day at $2.75 per gallon to keep my pipes from freezing. Michael, the beer next to you is getting cold and you need another.

As I look back, the destruction taking place physically was unbelievable. The refrigerator was empty except for the booze cooling in the vegetable drawer. Several boxes of some food I had in the cabinets where invaded by vermin, now taking free rein of what was available. Occasionally,  I would ask my neighbor if he had any left overs I could eat. Don’t forget to ask or just steal a couple of cans of beer when he goes to the bathroom.

Mounds of laundry sat in heaps in the laundry room. The washer and dryer were silent fr more than a month. My thoughts included, “It’s just going to increase the electricity bill which I already can’t pay; I wasn’t going anywhere to impress anyone; I certainly didn’t “smell” dirty; or I’ll just do it tomorrow.” Ah crap, am I getting low on beer? I might have to head to the store.

I had no transportation at all. The car I did own, I sold “to pay the bills”. Instead, I drown myself in cheap beer. But it didn’t stop me from getting more when it was needed. Most of the time, I just asked the neighbor if he needed any beer. If so we’d take a trip go get some more at some place “having a deal”. But this particular time, my neighbor and I were not on speaking terms at all. I was on my own.

With two beers in my pockets and an open one in my hands, I took a hour and a half trip walking to the store four miles away down the only country road to town. Got my six pack of Milwakee’s Best, trekked another hour and a half home drinking on the way back. By the time I got home I had two or three beers left. An hour later or more I would be on my way again to make the trip back to the store and back home.

My addiction had such a death grip on me, I didn’t know what way was up or down. All I knew was I had to have something to take all the pain and turmoil away in my life. Despite the nasty taste of Milwakee’s best (I can actually taste it right now and it makes me sick), I kept going for more and more.

Drinking and getting more beer was my life; nothing else matter to me.

 

A Year Ago – A Memory

Posted November 15, 2017, from my old journal:

“Obviously, something is happening with me that I have no control over….drinking. I’ll be honest about it because that is who I have become. It is something that I have debated and struggled with for over seven or more years now. But now that I’m the Department of Social Services program, I’m finally going to get treatment. Today was a rescheduled appointment for DSS for a Drug and Alcohol Evaluation. Honestly, I thought it was just a piss test and blood work. When I walked in the office, there was a sign, “Do not go behind this door without a therapist!” Oh boy! I was extremely nervous the whole time in the waiting room. Thankfully it was just myself. As open and honest as I am with anyone, I was the same with the therapist. I had to give my whole life story. We talked about treatment programs. I told her the only way that my life would change is an inpatient program because AA meetings and outpatient programs don’t work with me. After taking extensive notes, she immediately called my social worker and asked for a referral to an inpatient program. You know what, its long overdue! I should have received treatment years ago and stuck to it. I would not be in the position I am now. Hopefully, I will be put on a straight road and my life will change because I see no alternative.”

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Present Day:

Wow! As I read the entry I can remember exactly every detail of the whole hour. I knew then an inpatient program was my only option to survive. I didn’t go in with the intention of laying all my cards on the table but I’m glad I did. While I add more details here to the entry, please do not judge my poor decisions. Today, I can say I’m grateful to be alive.

First, my two friends, who were drunk, drove me there. They were waiting in the parking lot thinking I would be a couple of minutes. We were actually on our way to Waverly, PA to buy more beer. We always drove on back roads where ever we went to avoid any ugly encounters. “Stupid as a box of rocks” doesn’t even come close.

Second, I was suffering from a bad hangover and bad hygiene. My head was spinning and pounding. The therapist said my face was red “as a tomato” in addition to my bloodshot eyes. I had really bad tremors already which added to all to my anxiety.  The therapist asked, “When was the last time you did laundry?”. She explained the long drinking can cause the alcohol to eventually come out of your sweat glands and is very distinguishable from the smell of cigarette smoke coming off clothes. She then asked, “When did you eat last?” I answered, “I don’t remember.” We hadn’t even gotten to my drinking history yet.

Lastly, when it was all over, I had to face my friends. After a yelling match with them, I said, “She wanted to send me to rehab right now. But I told her, ‘no'” Obviously, I had to lie. From that moment on until I went to bed, they were grilling me, “What did you say? You aren’t going, are you? Did you say anything about us? . . .”

Honestly, I had no idea how my future would unfold.