But, on that day, 23 years ago, I simply could not puke and bleed and shake anymore.
All I remember of those end days was the constant taste in my throat of blood and vomit. I didn’t flush the vodka, I kept my last emergency half gallon. Actually, my first day not using I drank a quart. To survive a day with only a quart of vodka was quite an accomplishment.
I didn’t want to die around my little girl’s birthday. The plan was to die in January. It was actually late November before I can recall anything or eat much solid food. The first sensation I remember was not shaking, then realized I didn’t need to puke.
My demon still sits there smiling, taunting, every single fucking day. Every day. Somedays I don’t notice him anymore, but he’s there, if I let my guard down, he’s there, waiting and welcoming and smiling.
Recently sitting with some friends on a hot summer day, a glass, iced, filled with Blue Moon Ale. A sip and another and it’s like a hidden door is open. Like a sea rushing in, that moment as I tasted that ice cold beer was a fast ticket to my rage and my insanity. I jumped up and left, quickly. No one asked why. They knew, as I knew why.
Most days, after all these years, I like to go drinking with friends, me drinking seltzer and cranberry juice. Most days I’m fine, I like being around people drinking and laughing. It was never like that for me – ever. Laughter? How about “fuck you,” while I go for your throat. I swear I never went to a party to party; it was always to go get severely fucked up and work a deal.
I got invited to fewer and fewer parties…
I still sit in amazement at those who can take it or leave it. But, if I suddenly stand up at a table and have to leave – immediately – Don’t ever ask why. You don’t want to know.
The addict, still very much alive and strong inside me will rob you blind and stab you in the heart and fuck you up to get high. You don’t matter, family doesn’t matter, friends don’t matter, trust me the law doesn’t matter; nothing matters. There is no right or wrong. There is only the need – not desire – the need to get fucked up, big and hard.
I used to look at normal people, sober people, in wonder and awe. How do they live their lives? How do you manage to get through the day?
If none of this makes any sense to you, if it is foreign to you or seems made up to you, consider yourself fortunate and blessed.
Some days I wonder why the gift of sobriety was wasted on someone like me. There are many more deserving that never see this gift.
It is not a choice.