I am in a swirling river of emotion, all around me are bits and pieces of my life. The alcoholic fog slowly clears and I become aware of small patches of reality. The throbbing ache behind my left eye is one, so familiar with my daily hangover. Only this one is terrible. It must have been a real bender last night. This was the nastiest it has ever been. More chunks of reality float by. Anger, violence. I can’t quite grasp it. People talking in hushed voices and pointing…pointing at me. Whatever happened, it was not good, and I was the cause of it. Wife…x-rays…hospital. “I’ll fucken kill him.”
Like a foetus I lie alone wrapped in a blanket of depression and despair. My head aches, my spirit aches. I am hurt to the core. There are no words I can find for such darkness. Death would be an answer. In pain and on my own I finally faced my truth – I – am – an – alcoholic. There, I said it. Not out loud, but silently in my head. But I would rather die than make such an admission. Then it is my death I must prepare for. I begin to weep, how did I get so far? How can I survive my own death?
I am too sick to drink any more. One day passes into two. “Speak to Mike, he’s been sober for four years. He can help.” And so my rebirth begins. I know I have no control when it comes to alcohol and I have stooped to the limit of my relationships with loved ones. “Rehabilitation is a selfish act,” he tells me over coffee. “…and it’s a lonely path. But of all the people I know you have the strongest head, so you have a lot going for you.” Perhaps, I muse. I might have earned a reputation running marathons, but this is something foreign. Is there a Higher Power I can call on? One that I can believe in?
I have to let go of the life I know. Instead of sitting at the dinner table eating and drinking, I go to bed. Christmas was upon us and from over-enthusiastic participant I become the observer. “I need to put some distance between alcohol and me, maybe a month. Then I will start drinking in moderation.” Mike looked away, to the ocean’s horizon. “That won’t work,” was all he said. He knew the truth, I would never be able to safely drink alcohol again. But he didn’t tell me that, rather I should say the words myself. There was a long silence “I know, I’ll never be able to drink ever again in my whole life.” There I said it, like a judge passing sentence.
“Yeah, that will work.” Is all he said. I knew he was right, I knew I was right. Perhaps I will survive my own death after all.