Monday, August 22, 2011
It Is I: The Addict...Who Cries Now.
So...when I really start to think about what I am, an addict, an alcoholic...I often begin to feel very frightened. The reason for the fear is this: Those two words: addict and alcoholic...are more then mere words...to me they represent a whole array of painful feelings and horrifying experiences.
Some people in recovery circles make a point of keeping track of how many people they have known that have died from this disease of Alcoholism/Addiction...I am definately NOT one of them. Mainly because the reality of that TRUTH would be much too hard to take...because there have been so many.
Addicts and Alkies it seems...find a wide variety of ways to die: Car Accidents, Illness, Suicide, Organ Failure, Dumb Accidents, drowning/choking in their own VOMIT, etc. I think you get the picture...I had a good friend, Mike K. from High School who had moved to New Orleans after Senior Year. He walked out of a crowded bar (friends said he was highly intoxicated...a normal state for Mike) onto a crowded sidewalk and into a busy street..right in front of a delivery truck. Mike was close friend #4 who had died that YEAR. Yea...4 dead friends that year alone! !981 was a very BAD year to be a friend of mine!! Hell I was barely out of school, my life had just begun and I already was a freakin' expert at going to funerals!
So when I think of what I am and what I have experienced, it does give one the strange sensation of having cheated DEATH...and for me, on more then one occasion. It is also a profoundly humbling reality I realize and I am so grateful to be in the position that I am in today: alive, sober, actively trying to help others, following the Lord, instead of being just another drunken statistic. It certainly could have ended that way...
I'm not sure if I ever told Kim this, probably not because I was too ashamed but I have a memory that I have carried with now for six years or so that haunts me to this day.
I don't recall all the details but this was back when K-Sue and I were boyfriend/girlfriend the first time around but in reality we were Junkie Buddies (I was her Sugar Daddy): Doing dope, scoring dope and just trying to stay alive...She had found me in my bed, unresponsive. She could not revive me and couldn't really get a heartbeat.
She called the Emergency Squad and they rushed over to the house and attempted to revive me. For a long time I always pretended that I didn't have ANY recollection of that experience but it was a lie.
That farmhouse in Fennville, MI had the Master bedroom upstairs and their was a rather lengthy and winding staircase to the second floor. As the Paramedics struggled to bring me down those stairs, head first I remember looking out into the living room below and seeing Kim. I don't think I could ever handle seeing that expression on her face ever again. She looked completely and totally in SHOCK, deflated.
She thought I was DEAD...
DEAD...I don't really know what she was thinking, we havn't really discussed that moment very much, just in terms of being grateful she found me and I survived...but again I'm not sure I ever mentioned to her that I saw her. Perhaps I have...I'm sure I'll find out pretty soon after this gets posted!
Those are the memories that break your heart to pieces...that make you old WAY before your time. A friend and I once had to tell a newly married woman, holding her 3 month old daughter that her husband was dead...he dumped his motorcycle over a guard rail on Highway 315 in Columbus, Ohio near Riverside Hospital coming home drunk from a company softball game. I'll never forget her expression either as she nearly dropped the baby into my arms and fell into my buddies arms, screaming NO-NO-NO at the top of her lungs. Later, my buddy Mike and I identified her husband's (also named Mike) body ( We worked with him at Continental Office Supply and she was too distraught to do it). Trust me, I won't forget the expression on HIS lifeless face either...
As much as we use those words in our society today: addict/alcoholic, the true meaning of them is usually missed by the majority of people who hear them...and honestly, Thank God! At last they don't have to know what I know. What I learned the hard way...
(Painting by Pablo Picasso)