At 2:00am I turned off a major highway onto a fairly busy avenue. Whipping my car left as if I were in a NASCAR race. In the blink of an eye sparks are flying all around me like a weld shop. Me, being the responsible adult, I was at the time, hit the gas. I’m flying down this avenue with houses up and down each side of the road, stop signs, and normal 2am activity. I’m not creeping to a stop…not looking both ways…my hands sure as hell aren’t at 10 & 2. I manage to pull into the garage and pretend like nothing is wrong. That’s what I did then. I got drunk…did something stupid…and pretended nothing was wrong. Welcome to my hell…the end of the bottle
Why not get off work and go to the bar? Forget that I have a wife and kids at home. Forget that maybe my wife may actually needs my help with the kids that I helped create. Forget that maybe my kids want to see their dad. Instead…I go to the bar and sit down for “1”. I know that there is no such thing as “1”. Bellied up to the bar like Norm on Thursday’s nights, a moment of “Clarity” washes over me. I say to myself “I’m going to do the right thing. I’m going to go home early tonight and grace my family with my drunk self” So I put that beer down (after slamming it of course) hit the door and try and walk that straight line to the door. Open the door, fall into the seat, put the keys in the ignition, light up a smoke, crank up the music and hit the road. 30 mph over the speed limit later, I find myself looking in the rearview mirror more than the front due to the fact I’m terrified of a Police Officer being behind me. Whip into the driveway a few minutes later and I’ve escaped death..again.
Traveling east with 4 people in my car at 4:00am. I’ve been drinking all night and probably have some drugs in my system. I come across an intersection. The light is blinking red for me signaling me to stop…look both ways…and go when it’s clear. I have massive amounts of alcohol in my system and sprinkled some drugs on it for a real doozy of a cake. I don’t see the light. There’s a motorcycle hitting that same intersection about a millisecond before me. He sees me and must know that I’m not stopping and in a fraction of a second…..swerves so I don’t plow into him. 4 cop cars see the whole thing and pull me over. DWI at 20 years old. Thankful I didn’t kill someone
My wife comes to my work and tells me I should come home right after work. She’s confident she’s going to give birth to our 4th child tonight. I go to the bar like any good alcoholic would do. She calls me and tells me to come home so I can take her to the hospital. I drive home drunk from the bar and pick up my pregnant wife and unborn child and drive them both to the hospital…drunk. That night my daughter is born and 2 nights later I leave the hospital. I get black out drunk and don’t pick up my bride or our daughter from the hospital. Why? Because at 26 years old I’m a full fledge alcoholic
I could probably come with another 600 words or so and continue to share story after story much like the above. Instead….what does it all mean? Does it mean I’m lucky? Why wasn’t there a cop around after I hit that car? Chances are I may be getting out of prison close to now. I wouldn’t be married as my bride would have divorced me for certain. My kids may or may have not have come to see me. Knowing me I’d probably push them away. I wouldn’t have that Philly trip with my oldest. I wouldn’t have those state titles with my youngest son. I wouldn’t have those 5-minute car drives to school every day with my oldest daughter. I wouldn’t have those memories of my youngest daughter crying at the idea of seeing a sloth.
Why didn’t I hit that motorcycle? If I did, 3 out of the 4 of my children wouldn’t be alive. No hugs from Kam…no sass from Balooga… no HUGE heart from BaBose. Why??? Because I got drunk. Why was I spared? How did I not kill myself or anyone else? How am I not dead or in prison? Am I still here to be a better husband to my bride? Maybe I’m still here to love my children and give them the dad they always wanted. I’m lucky to be here this long. Am I here to write, talk, or just spew my stories of drunkenness and recovery? Am I here to be impacted by a team of youth boys I coach? Why? Maybe a more appropriate question is Why don’t I have a better relationship with God or my Higher Power?
How drastically different would my life be if I hit that motorcycle? What if there was a young child crossing the street that night and I didn’t see him or her? I’ve gone to church and listened. I’ve read and I often self-reflect. During this self-reflection is when I ask if I’ve buried that monster forever. I like to think I have.
Recently I was told that I’d be dangerous if I learned how to forgive myself. I quit looking back in that mirror like I did when I was drunk and put my head forward. Things started looking differently and my perspective changed. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m good enough to forgive myself. I’ve got 7+ years sober now and it took damn near all of that to finally forgive myself. I was also challenged to find my faith. So…how do I do that? Do I go to church? Do I read a bible? Maybe I ask some questions. Do I make sure to pray at night before I go to bed? How do I find faith??
Listen, I’m a firm believer in a higher power. You may or may not have yours but I gotta believe there’s something that’s far more powerful than me that put you and me here for a reason. Things aren’t the way they were before. I don’t just read now…I understand. I don’t just look now…I see. I’m calm. I’m at peace. Does this mean I’ve put my trust in my higher power? Am I looking for something that’s already right in front of me? Does it matter?
I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. Maybe some of that Karma stuff has been around me. Maybe today/tonight I’ve finally realized how fortunate I am. Maybe after all these years I’ve come aware of all of me. Is it possible as I sit here with damn near 3,000 days sober that I’m having my spiritually awakening? Are the goosebumps on my arms a sign telling me that I have? Are the tears in my eye lids real….or are they there because I’m remembering that monster that once was me?
I’m not sure I’ll ever find the answers to any of the questions that I’ve asked. I do know a handful of things. I’m loved. My bride loves me. My kids love me. I have a handful of friends that love me. I have family that loves me. I feel that love and reciprocate that love. Maybe that’s my higher power talking to me and telling me things are good and he or she has been there all along with me. Maybe now I’m realizing it.
April 25th, 2010, I decided that I wasn’t going to drink again. My life changes daily since then. I’m no longer drunk, hollow and alone. I’ve let go of all that. My bride says, “Let go and let God”. I don’t stumble yet stand strong. I don’t slur..yet articulate. I don’t fight; yet love. I’m not blurry yet clear. My thoughts are no longer clouded with evil yet with thoughts of love. I do believe I’m healed. April 25th, 2010 was day 1. Today is day 2,791 and somewhere in between I put the pieces together. My wife has held my hand through it. My 4 children have given me strength. Apparently, my higher power has been looking over me.
So now that I have this new found inner peace…what’s next? For now,…I think I’ll hug my bride and thank her. Then I’ll tell my kids I love them. Maybe I’ll say a quick “what’s up??” to my higher power. After that???? Who knows..I know I’ll do it clear minded, sober, and with the support of the people that love me and whom I love.
2,791 days with no alcohol. Never thought it would take that long to get sober. I’m thankful for that. Forgiven…not fotgotten