So, I will admit this might appear to be all over the place. It’s not. Surprisingly this all fits together rather nicely. Or horribly, depending on how fucked up you are. If you are this thing called normal, you’ll find all of this to be rather insane and maybe even freak you out. I guess I’ll just explain these items individually and then I think you’ll see how they fit together.
the alcoholic stuff
In case I haven’t mentioned this enough in my posts… I was an out of control, seriously fucked up, practicing alcoholic for a very long time, pretty much from the first day I tasted the stuff until the last time I did, close to 7 years ago. This post is about getting real. A year ago, I went through the whole ‘alcoholic thing’. Now it’s taken a year but I need to get out with stuff. I didn’t stop being fucked up at that point, I just stopped drinking, but, hey, I’m still workin on it. I loved the stuff at 17 when I tried it and I wanted more the very instant it started working. More, more, more, more. That’s me. I don’t care if gin tastes like crap, I’ll take a gallon. Towards the end there a handle of vodka would be gone in 24 hours. I turned 30 in March of 2010. For my birthday party in late March I got probably 10m bottles of vodka as presents (not a sign or anything). All but the final one were left by April when ‘it’ happened. That final bottle had maybe enough for one of your normal people to have a nightcap, whatever that is…. So, the world in which I lived was sad, lonely and filled with self-loathing, jealousy, anger and so much doubt. It was filled with fear and anxiety. You see, I gave all the power to alcohol and drugs. I say drugs because first of all, it’s true, but secondly it wasn’t just alcohol. But in the end, that WAS the drug of choice.
Nothing else gave me what I thought was control like it did. I lived for drinking. Even though I didn’t drink every day. I didn’t drink most mornings. However, everything I did was based around either drinking, thinking about or planning my next drinking or being so hungover from drinking that I became an extremely unreliable person. It’s a world that some understand, some do not and some are in right now. What is interesting is that you probably don’t know which category most people fall into. If you want more details, perhaps I’ll make a post called ‘puking blood: my bachelor party in Vegas’, that ought to really entice people to read my shit. The other interesting thing is that there are some people who read that title and are so shocked and in awe that they say things like, “I never knew, I can’t believe that, that’s crazy, must be an exaggeration.” There are those that will say, “Ya, it can be like that.” Perhaps the third group is so disgusted they stop reading, I don’t know. Again, perhaps whatever normal people are, deny the existence of such things or think that is just “so sad”. Well, you’re right, it is sad, it IS fucked up. If you couldn’t handle that, stop reading, it gets worse before it gets better.
Oh, the last night…. people ask, it’s so dramatic, it’s such a story…. Ok so no one really asks, they don’t care, want to know or even know there is such a question to ask. It’s not so fun though. It involves a ton, and I mean a ton of vodka. I’d put good money on the fact that you’ve never drank this much vodka in one night. The blackout started probably 75% into the evening, as it did a lot. Then, it involved a knife and an arm… This is where I stop for the moment to rewind a bit. I must dive into topic #2 – fuck cancer.
the disease I didn’t have
My sister’s former fiancé passed away in January of 2010 from cancer. The battle was long and was fought very hard. My sister was an inspiration due to her strength during the battle and after the end. I’d rather not go into detail, but we were with him on his last day. He was 26. His name was Dave. As a lot of alcoholics do, I used any and every reason to drink, but this was the most difficult thing I had to deal with, for the most part, in my life to that point. It was so hard and it fueled my drinking like nothing ever had before. It pushed me off the deep end and brought me into a world of not caring about much of anything anymore. I drank because I was sad and I was sad and I drank a lot. There were not many good days those few months after that event. One never truly gets over it, we just thank God for each day we had with him and for every day we are still here we treasure. So, out of respect for my sister and Dave, I’d rather not go into much more detail about the situation, but you get it and I hate the fucking disease.
the alcoholic’s savior part II
So…that plunge into the deep end. That night. I didn’t think of suicide, nor did I feel the option was one I considered. I was too scared, I’d rather feel sorry for myself, hate myself and have more reasons to drink. But it got to be where I no longer cared about anything and just to feel something, anything, I took a kitchen knife and began to cut my arm, my hand, just to feel something, but I couldn’t. I even knocked over a glass stumbling around. I used the shards of glass to make more damage. I was lucky, my wonderful Bailey was still around and somehow knew to make enough commotion downstairs to my wife that she figured something must be wrong. She found me, bloodied, delusional and out of my mind. I had reach surrender mode. Off to the hospital. I was no longer in control. This was the end of it. Admit me, put me in the psych ward, my decision. The end. Well, so much more but for the story, drop almost 7 years down next. Not 7 easy years. Ups and downs but no alcohol, that one thing I can say with 100% truth. I’m not perfect, not even close. I just got lucky that I was able to get out of the life. But I am here to tell you, that stuff can put its grip on you and sweep you away. You have no idea the power it can have on some people. If you are lucky to never know that feeling, cherish that fact. I still have to take care of myself every day, fill my life with positive things and, of course, not fucking drink. But I never think, not even for one day, that this is a given. I cannot.
So, the savior. I haven’t completely addressed that, nor the most confusing part of all, the main title, GOBO Fraggle.
As I stated before, Dave’s passing created a world that was hard to navigate or understand for me. I drank so much after that. I used alcohol as such a way to escape but yet then as soon as I was loaded up, it was my way to cry and be sadder than ever. When I quit drinking I realized that, I believe, on of, if not THE main reason I got so bad was because of his passing. In this regard, I look at him as one of the people who eventually helped me in possibly direct or indirect ways. For me, he was my savior in so many ways.
On the one year anniversary, my family and I visited Dave in Chicago. I’ll never forget my father, crying and standing in front of Dave’s resting place. Among other things, he said “thank you” and turned to me as if looking for affirmation that he was, indeed, a serious catalyst to my new life. He was correct. It was one of the life moments you never forget.
The rest of our trip, my sister, wife and my parents, traveled to Galena, a favorite place of Dave and my sister’s. My wife was pregnant with our first son at the time. One thing we did while shopping was to buy a handful of stuffed animals for the baby. We found a store that carried a few Fraggle Rock characters, a show I grew up loving. We found a terrific GOBO Fraggle doll and we knew immediately what to call him – Dave. So, years later when my son, Finn, started to speak, we told him the stuffed animal’s name was Dave. Well, now Finn is 5 and a half and enjoys Fraggle Rock and knows the character’s name is GOBO. He asked me the other day why I keep calling him Dave and I told him about the special person in mommy and daddy’s life that the doll represents. He represents so much more than I can tell him right now, but that, too, is for another day.
I’ve felt compelled to write this story for a while now and I hope you know it comes from the heart and a place of truth. Life is a crazy ride and frankly, I am emotionally drained now from getting this all out. If you read this whole thing, I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know. Feel free to re-post or share with anyone who may be going through anything like this. I’m here and it’s been 2547 days since I drank alcohol. That’s at least a good start….
2 thoughts on “Gobo Fraggle – An Alcoholic’s Savior”
Well, I knew you then and knew things were not right, especially after Sunday home games with the Rams. Frozen bottle of Vodka in the freezer was a five away but with all the liquor we had left over from Mardi Gras parties none never seemed to go missing.
Had I knew how bad it was I would of dumped every last drop of it.
Having a brother n law ( now sober for 20 years ) and a son n law now sober for 2 months, I am extremely aware of how messed up this discease can be. The hell it plays in everyone’s life, not only the one afflicted.
I will only say this, I’m glad that I got to know you and wish we had more successes together. You have great parents, who Deb and I really admired. You have a great wife who without question loves you very much. Two kids that adore you. Those silver linings are more than many in the world have and why love truly can conquer all.
Thanks for sharing Ryan.
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Thank you, Steve. I had to find this path on my own but your words mean so much to me. I, too, wish things might have worked out differently as partners, but I’m proud of what we did. You were a wonderful colleague, partner and friend. I am so happy to hear about your son and hope he is still doing well early in this new life. Thank you for sharing and I hope we can get together and catch up soon….