Friday, May 15, 2009

One Step


I used to drink a lot. For the first decade or so, it was fun. I drank at parties with friends, we would stay up drinking after work, drink at band practice and gigs, drink at the river, get hammered in the graveyard or park, and it was usually in excess, but it was a crowded excess. It's a downhill tale from there, but by the time it was all over, my preferred drinking companion had become myself and my excesses had become my shame. I realize that this blog is no stranger to exaggeration, but I am actually making a conservative guess by saying I was drinking a fifth of liquor and at least twelve beers almost every single day, usually mixing some pills with it; so it really didn't surprise me when , one night in 2005, I started throwing up blood.
It was red at first, then it turned black with red pieces and at that point I knew I was going to die, and soon.

I actually had to think about it. It was my choice. Did I want to live or did I want to die?

What an absurd, hateful question.

In an ironic twist, I live directly across the street from a hospital, but I owed that facility a large sum of money from a drunken injury earlier that year and I knew that I'd probably die while they reviewed my financial records; so my new-found will to live gave me the strength to drive to a nearby hospital, where I walked into the ER and vomited my guts out. What was left of them, anyway.

Two days later I woke up in intensive care and was told that my chances of survival weren't especially high. I don't remember the transfusions, convulsions and surgeries, but I know that I had them. From time to time someone would stop in and ask me questions such 'do you ever feel depressed' or 'do you ever think about suicide'- what, did they think I drank myself to death as an expression of life-affirming optimism? Plus, I was in the hospital and hospitals always make me depressed.

Anyway, after six days, their charity expired and I was sent home, accompanied by dire predictions that I would drink again, and really soon.

That is not going to happen. I have a "one-step" program:

1)Don't die.
The easiest way for me to not die is to not drink, so drinking is out. Pretty simple and so far it's been working because since 2005 , I've had all my triggers pulled at least once: my grandmother and my cousin both died, I've had several job losses for no cause and am facing another loss now, and I'm still nursing a broken heart that refuses to settle down.

And I'm sitting here alone on Friday night, blogging about being sad.

But it could be worse.

I could be drunk.

4 comments:

NYD said...

I often feel as if drinking is a way for us to abuse ourselves so badly that life looks good after we've sobered up.

That's like hitting yourself in the head with a 2x4 for about an hour or so just to enjoy the feeling of satisfaction once the assault ceases.

yellowdog granny said...

im not only glad your not dead..im gloriously head over heels with joy..

citizen of the world said...

Sadness is part of life. That's not a platitude - just saying that I have had too much experience with it. But dying? You only get to do that once. I'm glad you're opting for life.

angel said...

And again, your determination not to die impresses me!