The shakes hit me so hard that they awoke me from my blackout state. I am on the floor of my bedroom, staring at the dust and lint that resides under the dresser.
Holding my stomach in agony as it feels like its eating itself.
I need a drink to stop the pain….if only temporarily.
I calm my mind long enough to remember hiding a 5th of tequila behind the chest in the living room and a couple of beers at the back of the vanity in the bathroom.
The wave of nausea took over every time I blinked.
I had nothing left to throw up. I was sleeping in and over last nights contents of my latest drinking spree.
But that didn’t stop my insides from rejecting even the air that I attempted to breathe.
I muster up enough will power to get up off the floor.
Vomit drops off my clothes as I grow from the crawl, to the knees and finally to upright.
I see the clock digitally screaming at me in neon green that it is 3 p.m.
My wife will be home from work in a few hours. I have to clean this (and me) up before then.
Maybe she won’t know….
I use the furniture as a handrail and a guide from room to room to find my stash.
The afternoon sunlight coming in through the windows and the bitter silence oozing from the state of my affairs make it hard to see clearly.
But I see clearly enough to know what I need. I just have to retrieve it.
I make it to the living room and slump down next to the chest. I catch my breathe and wipe the continuous flow of sweat from my brow. A tremor of shakes brings me to my knees. I muster enough energy to reach behind the chest and find…… nothing.
“I KNOW IT WAS THERE” my mind screams.
That thought makes my head pound harder. I can feel my heart beating out of my chest. The beer has to be there.
I reach the guest bathroom after an eternity of crawling, whimpering and sheer determination.
I open the vanity door.
One beer and a note are the contents I find inside.
I instinctively grab the beer and pull the tab on it.
The carbonated smell of the foam hits my senses and for that moment before I drank it
If only for that one moment…
I had won.
I drank the warm beer in a few gulps. My shakes slowly tapered to a mild twitch.
My stomach began to settle enough to focus the rest of my body.
The hot sweats I was enduring began to cool. The dampness of my hair and clothes were a warm welcome.
The stench of stale vomit was not…But a shower would fix that.
I set the empty can on the sink and picked up the note with my still shaky hand.
You just drank the last drop of alcohol that remains in this house. You have also taken the last bit of compassion I have for you. The kids and I are gone. And we won’t be coming back. I still love you. But I fell in love with the man I married, not the one you have become. If you ever find your former self, then maybe you can find me again.
I wanted to cry or show some sort of emotion other than anger, but I couldn’t.
I could figure out a way to fix this but I
booze to help me sort things out.
I get up.
First I need a shower. I strip off my clothes and step into the cool water. It washes away my sins of yesterday.
I dry myself off.
Put on clean clothes and rifle through drawers and worn clothes trying to find a little money.
A fiver in the back pocket of a pair of jeans I wore 3 days ago.
I go to the garage……
That bitch took the car…..
My eyes jet left to right. I see a bike tire jutting out from behind a few boxes.
It’s the bike I bought when teaching my daughter to learn to ride. I hadn’t ridden it in years….
The convenience store is only a few blocks away, I could ride it to pick up a six pack and then get back here to formulate a plan.
It’s a shaky ride, but I make it, and go into the store to make my purchase.
I buy my beer, get on my bike and decide the best place for it, is resting over the handlebars. If I go slow enough I should be fine.
As I ride back, I hit a few bumps and notice that 2 of MY beers are beginning to fall out of the plastic holder.
I try to pedal faster….only a few more houses to go and I am home….
I hit a pothole and lose control. I go flying off the side of the bike.
The beer glides off the handlebars…. in slow motion, clanking together as they go airborne and the hit the pavement.
2 of them spring a leak and begin to roll down the street.
I get up off my bloodied elbows and knees and give chase.
Tears are rolling down my cheeks as I try to stop my lifeline from seeping out of the holes. To no avail…I am left with four.
I pick up the remaining beers and head to the house. I leave the bike.
I get into the kitchen and immediately down 2 of them before attending to my injuries. I am still crying.
“How am I going to make it….I don’t have enough….” I think between the sobs.
I rub my forehead with my palm and glance over at the phone. A second note sits next to it.
I reach over and pull it towards me and read-
If you decide you want to quit, call this number. They say they can help, but they won’t until you ask.
Alcoholics Anonymous 555-5490.
Jonathan looks at the number that sits in front of him.
Then looks at the phone that sits at the left.
And then at the beer that sits on the right.
He feels like he is standing at a “T” in the road trying to decide which way to go.
This fictional story is a tribute to a friend in AA who passed away this past year with 26 years of sobriety. Parts of this story were based on his story.
Recovery from alcoholism happens.
He chose to go to the left.
Which way would you choose?