the before time

teaching kindergarten

It turns out that I am not really that good of a Kindergarten teacher.  I am learning to forgive myself for this.  My wife gave me a great piece of wisdom she learned.  During this period in our lives our goal is not to become good math teachers or coaches or cooks or whatever it may be that has put us so far out of our comfort zone and crammed it into one building.  Our goal is to maintain our relationships.  I’m learning to try and do this.  Is it hard for anyone else, as it is for me?

the before time

The world changed on a dime and I didn’t see it coming.  One typically loud day I was planning, scheduling and reserving my time for people, places and things.  The next day I was completely focused on only my family, my friends and their health.  My 6 year old daughter calls this – the before time.  The time when we went to school.  The time when we went to work.  When we worried about traffic and deadlines and being the best.  You remember the before time, right?  We got mad when we had to wait 10 minutes for a table at a restaurant.  We were annoyed when the guys in the middle of the row at the game kept making us stand up so they could go get beers.  We had the privilege to take our children to see animals at the zoo.  We were lucky enough to be able to hug our parents, our siblings our friends.  We were able to mourn those we lost in person and together.  You remember, don’t you?  The before time?  But did we know what we had?  I’m not so sure I did.  Certainly not always.  I mourned my uncle last year with family, I don’t take that lightly.  I can tell you I didn’t appreciate the freedom to be annoyed with someone who continually got up during the baseball game either. That feels like a lifetime ago and I dont see it ever being the same.  I expect to one day be at a baseball game again but just….different.

the now time

What I know about the now time is that I AM a teacher, a cook, a coach, a parent, an employee, a spouse, a friend, a therapist and so many more things.  If you are also all these things right now just know, as cliche as it sounds, you are not alone.  I mean physically, besides your people, you ARE alone but in so many other ways you are not.  It is ok to say its hard and it sucks because at times it does.  For me, focusing on positives is the key.  So many things I once put so high on my lists of worries, things to do and care about have faded into the background.  I hope I can hold on to the gratitude I feel for things I no longer have.  I know I cant be a teacher.  Actual teachers are angels and miracle workers.  I’ve always thought so but now I have a new found respect and love for everything they do.  But I don’t have to be a teacher, I just have to help when and where I can and help get to the next school year without anyone in the house killing each other.  Love can win here.  Keeping our relationships is the goal and maybe, just maybe we improve a few things.  Who knows what the ‘the next time’ will look like.  That is not in my control.  Let’s get through the now time still loving each other as much or, possibly, even more.  Anything that happens beyond that is beautiful icing on a cake made of stress and anxiety.  If you promise to stay strong I promise to do the same.


I want to end with a poem that has kept me going and feeling positive about what we, as humans, have been doing.  I am not sure who wrote it but it has meant a lot to me.

and then the whole world

Walked inside and shut their doors

And said we will stop it all.  Everything.

To protect our weaker ones,

Our sicker ones, our older ones,

And nothing, nothing in the history of humankind

Ever felt more like love than this.


Stay safe everyone.  I love you.


forced isolation


welcome back

It has been over a year and half since I last wrote on this blog and I just don’t know why.  Perhaps I have leaned towards our topic of the day, isolation.  Honestly the feeling that writing gave me went away for a bit.  Then my uncle, the man who taught me so much, my friend passed away.  I wanted to write this piece for a while but I just couldn’t figure out how to start it.  He always read what I wrote and knowing he wont see this is, well kind of sad.  Originally this piece was going to be about how I seem to flock to isolating.  It was going to be about how I feel safe and comfortable when I isolate, even though its not what I should be doing.  It is not odd that I would enjoy something that is bad for me.  For more clarity on that concept scroll down to any of my other posts.  Anyway, the whole topic has taken a dramatic left turn and I finally felt the compulsion to write again but now it is for a far different reason.


the virus vs. the disease

Typing “the virus” immediately invokes memories of movies about the end of days.  Within the last few weeks we went from making jokes about not touching or being near each other to complete lock down of cities and serious global fear.  You know all that.  You’re probably home too watching the news, reading articles and on and on.  I am of course, as always, interested in talking about the addiction side of this.  The irony is that I have always enjoyed isolating and now that we have been forced to isolate and I don’t like it….totally.  Tell an alcoholic not to do something and I bet by dinner he will have done 3 times and shoved it in your face that he did it.

Forced isolation is a hell of a good reason to drink or do drugs.  Now don’t worry, I am not going to do that.  But I worry about those who have the thoughts that creep up inside their mind.  These thoughts will tell you that you don’t have a problem.  They will tell you that you’re home alone and no one will know.  They will downplay your addiction.  Then the thoughts will explain to you how you don’t really have a problem.  The thing is, if these thoughts are allowed to continue, you will be drunk or messed up by the time the sun sets.  Isolation is a dangerous place for us humans, especially when we are forced to do it and even more so, I think, for us alcoholics.

This is a very delicate time for all of us.  At first I thought, this message should be for other drunks and drug addicts but honestly, we all need to be vigilant.  It is more important than ever to stay in touch.  Even if you aren’t an alcoholic or a drug addict, you very likely know one.  You need to call them.  You need to FaceTime them.  You need to just ask how they are doing and keep them engaged with the world.  Of course we need to do this for everyone but I’m not writing an everyone thing here so just deal with that.

Our way of life is being jolted.  You probably didn’t know this or think of it but even AA meetings are canceled.  We are regrouping and having meetings virtually but what does that do for the new person or the person who was considering their first meeting or wondering if maybe they have a problem?  Well you can understand why I am concerned.

If there is a chance you are questioning your drinking or drug use and reading this, there are still many ways to get help, to address it.  I don’t want this situation to produce a large number of relapses, and I hope I am wrong, but I fear it will.  But just as we can contain the spread of the virus by being away from each other, we can also contain the disease of alcoholism if we stay in contact with each other.  Reach out to others if you are struggling.  And if YOU are not struggling reach out to someone who is.  And if you don’t know anyone who is struggling then you don’t know anyone at all because everyone is struggling in some way, especially right now.  We will get through this but we need to band together, all of us.

action items

Do me a favor (and I’m stealing this idea from a few very wise people), no matter who you are, make a promise to yourself that each day you will try to reach out to two people in some capacity.  To clarify, I mean call or Video Chat in someway.  A text is just ok.  Let me tell you why I wouldn’t text.

A text is easy for a struggling person to:

1. Deflect and disregard

2. Not engage or care about

3. Easily lie about their current condition

So call two people tomorrow and the next day and the next day and well just do it at least until we get through this thing.  I promise you, I PROMISE YOU, whether you’re an alcoholic or not, doesn’t matter, you’re day will be better because you did this.  You can’t say you don’t have the time.  This is the time to help each other.  We can be better and maybe we even learn how to live better because of this.  I love you all and thank you for reading.

If you need additional help:

Alcoholics Anonymous

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 24/7 Helpline

1-800-662-HELP (4357) 

so many forgotten christmas trees

IMG_8114where the fuck have you been

I’ll admit, it’s been a while since my last blog.  If I call myself a writer, and I do not, I’d say I got a long string of no creativity.  That’s bullshit.  I got complacent.  I got lazy.  I got scared.  I stopped writing this blog I love because real struggle looked me in the eyes, as scared and confused as I’ve ever seen, and I froze up a bit.  I did my very best to help, but  was afraid I didn’t help, that I made the road more confusing.  Then I got worried I couldn’t handle the responsibility of putting something out there someone might actually read and relate to and even more so, take me up on my offer to talk.  What a selfish act.  What a prick.  However, if I am going to be a selfish prick, I will at the very least be an honest one.  Therefore, I decided to get back in the game and this inspiration hit me this morning out of nowhere and it was much unexpected.

so many christmas trees…

As I went to my favorite parking lot today to look for wood to burn, I saw the Christmas trees stacked upon each other.  This parking lot of mine that I love is also a drop off for old trees after the holidays.  As I saw a gentleman dropping off his tree, throwing it onto the pile like garbage, I was suddenly struck with a great deal of emotion.  Immediately I thought about all of the memories and moments that were created around and under these Christmas trees in the last few weeks.  I thought about all of the pictures that had probably been taken in front of or with these trees. Now I should stop and tell you I tend to assign emotion to objects even though I know I should not do that. Emotions are feelings we have inside of us, objects have no knowledge of our emotions nor do the objects themselves hold our feelings or memories inside them. But when I looked at these trees and I took what will most assuredly be the last picture ever taken of them, I can’t help but feel somewhat sad.

I don’t know why, it’s not as if these trees could be kept for years to come. It’s not as if these trees ARE the memories that were created in their presence. The memories are in our minds, the trees are merely symbols of a special time of year for so many people. But I still can’t help to feel almost strange in the presence of so many objects that, for a month or so, were the center of so many universes, of so many houses. Perhaps this is another example of how I overthink and analyze everything in my universe and my world. This is a good reminder for me that objects don’t make the memory; the people do.

time for a stretch

In a greater sense, and I might be stretching, but I believe our society has put such a greater importance on the objects and also ensuring a good documentation of the memory that we do not always fully immerse ourselves in the memory and moment itself. Now I am going down a tangent but I can’t stop. I know I’m guilty of it myself, sometimes projecting the image of a moment is more important than the moment itself. Sometimes setting the scene and the picture of the moment also becomes more important than enjoying that moment while it is happening. It seems rather silly that all of this was brought about from just seeing a bunch of dead trees piled on top of each other. But they were so much more than that once. The trees waited their whole lives for that one month in time where they would shine and be the highlight of a house. And welcome to my psyche.  The trees don’t have a clue and I doubt I do either.  But let me tell you something.  Today was another day I didn’t drink alcohol and that makes 2811 days in a row for that truth.  But I did feel bad for those trees though.  So I’m still fucked up, so that’s good…..

why i won’t go out with you

lonely, in pain and a brilliant mindalcohol3

Secrets, incredible acting and a magician’s ability to divert attention.  My ability to lie took so much time to develop and gain the confidence to do so, but eventually lying could not mask the pain anymore.  When I was drinking, I thought about alcohol all the time.  I wanted drugs all the time.  My drug of choice was always ‘more’ (I did not invent this phrase, but I believe it to be brilliant in the ways of an addict’s mind).  So many people walk around every day and the idea of a drink or a drug never even crosses their mind.  How different we are.  This feeling never completely goes away, I still have numerous moments where somehow the idea of drugs or alcohol enter my mind, but over time I have built up a defense system equipped with support.  Nevertheless, sometimes, undeniably, crazy thoughts can pop into my head.  Now I mean fucking crazy thoughts.  Please remember, as an addict I have a brilliant mind.  I am somehow smart enough to know I couldn’t have a drink even if I wanted to.  When I drank, I was sloppy and obvious and it was undeniable.  So I’d never get away with it.  Hear that?  “Get away with it.”  That’s my first consequence on the chart.  Get away with it how?  Not go to jail?  Not die?  How insane it can be to be this way.  I recall these type of thoughts:  “So I drank a fifth of vodka alone in a night, so what?  I didn’t do anything stupid this time.  No one even knew, all good.”

-Yes I did this and yes, I thought it was “cool”.  It is not cool to drink a fifth of vodka, especially alone.

That is the point here.  My mind works differently.  Liver failure, DUI, jail time, killing someone, killing myself.  So many people look at those consequences and decide to avoid the things that could allow these items to happen.  Some of these items don’t even enter certain people’s minds.  Why would they?  Well the honest to God’s truth is that NONE of them EVER stopped me from drinking.  Some nights I prayed one or the other would not happen to me out of fear, but I still kept going.  The instant that first drop of alcohol hit my lips and then my stomach, the feeling was pure bliss, I thought.

The very second I felt that alcohol, that fire hit my belly, I was gone.  I was happy (sure I was).  Start the race.  My new goal until I passed out was to find and pour as much of that liquor down my throat as I could.  I do not have the best ears in the world, but I could hear a bartender call last call from a mile away.  Last call at a bar for me involved three completely necessary tasks.  Task 1: Get to the bar quickly and order myself two drinks, usually each a double (unless on the off chance they had cut me off, which happened a few times see addendum A – Finding a friend to get a drink for me).  Task 2: Figure out the plan to drink more after that bar, even if it meant at home alone.  Task 3 (optional): Hopefully find someone to take a shot with (on top of the two doubles I had ordered).  If you wanted to see me frustrated and quietly angry, you should have seen me on days, where Task 2 had no prospects and my wife insisted I come home and go to bed.  This meant drinking time was over (see addendum B – Convincing the wife to have a drink when we got home.)  Yet this was all my normal world and it made sense somehow.


i am insane

This blog is my place to speak my truth.  I don’t speak for alcoholics or addicts.  I find these pieces allow me to stay honest and are just another piece that helps me not drink today.  I have had some amazing people support me and talk to me after a piece and I am eternally grateful for that response.  I love to hear from people on either side of the fence and welcome a discussion.  Pardon my language here, but those who have never experienced addiction have no fucking clue what it is like.  I make jokes that I still do tons of things alcoholically, like eating a full sleeve of cookies or exercising as much as possible for a few weeks.  These things are true.  However, that is not true addiction.  Addiction is being late to an important meeting because you have to stop home and get high.  Addiction is using money you need for dinner but using it for drugs instead and consciously making that decision and feeling as though it was the right one.

I was poor as fuck in college, but I was still stoned every day and blackout drunk often.  Waking up in strange places not knowing why you are there is a feeling you keep with you.  A rooftop comes to mind.  And it’s ok to smile or laugh about that but also realize that there was pain and problems with something like that.  Laughing about some of the stupid stuff I did is also helpful.  But as much as I hated the idea, eventually, the party had to end…


the end of the party

This is the part where they put the disclaimer up ‘Viewer Discretion Advised’.  I do not presume that April 2010 was my rock bottom.  I PRAY that it was, but in this world of addiction, filling my head with grandiose ideas of never drinking again is a very unhealthy and, at times, overwhelming way to feel.

My body wants more and more and more of everything.  I did not handle traveling home after vacation very well.  On vacation, I went all out, all the time.  I blacked out and do not remember entire evenings.  I puked so much I literally could puke no more.  Even alcohol poisoning, or as close as one can get, two nights in a row, in Vegas and vomiting blood everywhere didn’t even make me think for one second that I should cool it on the drinking.  After the first night of walking the line between passing out on a bathroom floor and being takin to the hospital, I went with my fiancé to breakfast.  Well, I could not even eat.  All I could do was drink straight vodka out of a water bottle while holding back the spits with a hotel hand towel.  Even then, there was ZERO thought of quitting or that I had a problem.  The only thought was of getting enough vodka back in my system that I could function and be normal.  That is the truth of the matter.  I really believed that if I could just drink a full water bottle of vodka at 11am on an empty stomach, that I would feel normal again and thus, it was ok.  Many hours later I could be seen walking through Old Vegas with a full wine bottle in hand.  You might be thinking that after drinking for another 20 hours and coming severely close, again, to death, this must be the story of the end.  Unfortunately, that story happened two years before I quit drinking.  I was hung over for a month though.  Seriously.  One month, yet I did not give it up.

Finally, when we lost Dave in January of 2010, I could no longer stop the train racing towards the cliff.  The last normal for me was secret drinks at work, snorting anxiety medication just because and smoking weed as if it were a second job.  But mostly, my normal was unhappiness.  I did not genuinely smile much during those few months.  I am brilliant so I made the best appearance of “I’m getting through it all.”  But deep inside, I wasn’t.  In my thoughts, I was too cowardly to kill myself, but I secretly hoped the booze and medication might eventually do it, especially if I used them to excess.  And I am talking a level of excess I had yet to achieve to this point because I had some genuine fear of death.  But take away that fear of death and mix it with an alcoholic’s downward spiral and you’ve got a recipe for one serious disaster.  I don’t mind meeting friends at a bar occasionally, I like a good party for a few hours, I’ll even entertain my best friends sometimes until midnight or so if I’m feeling generous.  But for me the party has ended and I couldn’t be happier about it.  I love a cup of coffee and a conversation any day over watching people trip over themselves or try to tell me, in slurred speech, that they are proud of me.  Avoiding a given event or party isn’t about the fear of relapse, it is about the desire to not go back and visit the prisons I once inhabited.

I was lucky.  My disaster was pretty big.  It was very hard.  But I survived it and I am here today and writing about it and you are reading it and still talking to me.  You must understand how insanely impossible this reality would have been to comprehend back then.  It could not happen, yet it did.  If you wanna talk about addiction, lets talk.  If you wanna know more, I’ll buy you a coffee and tell you more.  If you hate this blog, well, luckily there are other options out there.  But most importantly, I just want to say to anyone reading, thank you.






a bad day drunk

the truth help is in the details

Let’s dive deeper and deeper into this world I speak so highly of.  This is that lonely, sad yet, at times, slightly exciting world of the drinking problem.  This is my world.  This is not your world or your alcoholic friend’s world.  This place was designed by me and for me.  For those of you who may not understand this life, this way of stumbling through, literally and figuratively, perhaps my stories shine some light on your confusion or possibly intrigue.

Maybe there is one of you who wonder if you are like me or know someone who might be like me.  Let me warn you.  If it is you who are curious, if it is you who wonder, fear you are like me, the door is always open.  The communication line extends from you to me directly and has no people or hurdles in between.  But if you are curious because you fear you know someone like this, I’d suggest you be quite careful how you handle that.  I’m not a therapist, I’m not here to diagnose or reach out to someone you know.  If my stories resonate inside you, I am someone who can relate and talk.  But I only got to this place on my own.  No one could tell me to change or stop.  All I am saying is if you suspect someone you know has a problem, please explore your options before making a move, because you could be in a danger zone you don’t even realize or understand.

Well…..sorry if that got weird.  So how about I tell you about a really bad day.


the bad day starts yesterday

When it came to drinking, my bad days couldn’t be contained or qualified to one actual day.  They started long before the stroke of midnight.  In fact, they were usually still going strong when midnight hit.  The main question of whether or not to drink on a given night would sometimes be decided by a few, very important factors.  First question, what do I have to do tonight – probably nothing scheduled.  Second and more importantly, what time do I have something to do tomorrow and how critical is it.  Once I had the answers, the determination would be made.  Drink or not drink.  If we had reached this questioning period, the answer was most undoubtedly going to be – drink.  The third question would be, who can we drink with (sub-question – who will I have the best chance to stay out with super late).  Then it was time to get to it.

Grape vodka and cranberry juice, stiff as you can make it and I’ll meet you for a cigarette on the front porch (I was speaking to myself in this scenario).  When I would make drink #1, the adrenaline rush was significant, but I don’t want this to sound cliché.  It wasn’t glamorous as if it were a movie.  Tarantino would have quick cuts of ice in glass, drink mix and lit cigarette and it would make you want to have a cocktail right then and there.  In my picture, there was adrenaline filled with anxiety engulfed in self-doubt and self-loathing while still maintaining the internal vision of somehow this is all normal and maybe even….cool.  Then we were gone.

Once that first drink makes it down, once the fire is in the stomach and I am off and running, it isn’t going to stop.  One drink is all I need and then I can’t tell you what happens next.  But the idea of ‘tonight I need to take it easy’ or ‘I’ll just have a couple’ isn’t going to ever enter my mind.  Fundamentally, this is probably the top reason I no longer drink.  That list is five miles long, but this concept, in my opinion, is the root of my problem relationship with alcohol.  I can’t, I won’t, and I hate to stop drinking once I start.  The human body will, eventually, make you stop.  You will either pass out, start vomiting or die.  But ‘having desire to stop’ is not on that list for me.

Yes, you read that correctly.  ‘Dying’ is on the list of reasons a person can be stopped from physically drinking more yet ‘me wanting to’ is not.  That is not a mistake.  If you haven’t seen what this disease can do to a person, perhaps now you are starting to.  So maybe by 2a or 3a everyone has gone home.  Depending on how I answered question #2, I may just stay up alone and finish things off.  But you came here to hear a BAD day story.  So that’s when we introduce the second part of the story – next day responsibilities.


how being responsible and being an out of control alcoholic mix terribly

Responsibilities are the worst when you’ve been up until 3a or 4a drinking heavily.  Work, family obligations, basically anything that isn’t sleeping or drinking more really got in the way of my alcoholism.  They ruined everything.  “Who the fuck has a kid’s party at 11A on a Saturday without booze?”  I’ve come to learn that, surprisingly, a LOT of people do actually.  “I’ll go out to breakfast if they have a bloody Mary bar.  Wait, you’re not going to drink WITH me?”  Also I’ve come to learn that this is not uncommon for people to drink a little at night and then NOT want to drink the next morning.  “Fuck work for having me as an employee and having to be in at 9A.”  I don’t even have a response to this one, but I do remember feeling this way A LOT.

So I define “bad” for me as waking up when I needed to for something, usually work, and still being hammered.  Hammered meant no hangover (yet) and feeling like the world was ok and somehow I was still ok.  You won’t like this or understand it, but towards the very end, this feeling when I awoke and had to work meant only one thing.

I will tell you in this alcoholic’s mind the reasoning I’m about to share actually made sense and I felt it was somewhat rational. 

I had to drink more, at work.  This way, I avoid the hangover completely (no) and can be normal (no).  I remember the face of the liquor store worker when I would walk in and grab a bottle of red wine at 830 in the morning.  It was not a judging face; it was just a face of indifference.  Yet it also had an awareness and, I believe, he made assumptions about what was going on.  It is possible that a lot of that description was in my own mind and fueled by my own anxiety, but I still felt that way.  You may have glanced over it or you may be asking “did he say red wine?”  Yes.  I did.  Also important to note is that I never really drank much red wine in my drinking career.  If I drank wine, I liked white.  So why did red wine become my ‘go-to drink of choice when I was still drunk from the night before and had to go to work so I’d stop by the liquor store at 830A and pick up something drink for the day, while at work – drink?’  I guess the first time it felt right for that very common, relatable scenario.


didn’t quite think this one out…

There is really only one slightly small problem with waking up drunk, not really eating and then filling your stomach with red wine at work to ‘stay normal’.  Time.  Have you ever seen basically ANY food at a sporting event and thought “well the best idea of the day is me eating that right now”?  Most of the time, hours later, it wasn’t the best idea of the day.  Well what seems like a good idea at 830a, even 1030a when you’re really in a groove, is going to eventually have to end or get worse.  You may think you’re creative, talented or superman at this point and think everything you are doing is pure gold.  It’s not.  You may think you’re talking normally to people, clients, and dogs.  You aren’t.  You may be getting away with it, and at the time that fact keeps you going somehow, but it simply can’t last.

Remember, the human body is going to win out somehow.  I recall one specifically bad day where I really felt good about where my drunk level was, not super obvious, but enough to keep myself happy.  I played ‘normal guy’ and planned an evening happy hour with a buddy near work.  The thing is, again, you can fool your mind, you can fool other people, but your body does not respond to this type of communication.  So you have a severe buzz going on and have been drinking now for 24 straight hours, minus the 3 hour nap you’re calling “sleeping last night” and havent eaten much at all.

Your body, which is the only part of you telling the truth these days, is a river about to overflow its banks.  A tiny bit more rain and the flood is coming and it will affect everyone in its path.  So you hit the bar at 5P, like a ‘normal person’.  You start the conversation and its fine.  I got this.  So….time for the usual – vodka and cranberry and perhaps, we suggest, a shot, to toast friendship or some shit like that.

Oops, we were afraid a small drizzle would overflow that river and instead hurricane just showed up and it’s coming on strong.  The conversation quickly diverts.  Uh oh, he notices that I am not seeming right now.  My brain can’t make words normal anymore.  This is a blackout’s beginning.  The world is now a movie I am watching from afar.  Time is disappearing and I don’t understand things.  I can sense the confusion in my friend.  He must be thinking how did one drink and a shot do this so quickly?  He knows something is wrong.  I stop caring and realize that exhaustion is upon me and I can’t think of anything except my bed and sleep.  It must be 10 o’clock at night.  (It is actually closer to 5:30)  I must leave.  I recall the idea of ‘let me take you home’ being thrown out, but I quickly say no to that.

I’m not proud of any of this and this part is hard to even type so many years later.

But I drove home.  I don’t know how I did it but I did.  This is something I thank God for all the time, that I never injured anyone doing something so reckless, selfish and beyond dangerous.  I recall even more confusion from my wife when I got home so early and obviously severely drunk.  I knew she must have been doing the math in her head.  “How could he have been out for such a short time and come home wasted?”  I passed it off.  I knew the pain was coming; physical, emotional and psychological.  That had to all wait while I passed out.


the bad day after the bad day

So that was the Bad Day.  However, as you can imagine, the next day was no peach.  When that alarm clock goes off, the true terror begins.  I know there are so many out there who are the ‘drink everyday’ type alcoholic.  Well, I just couldn’t be that.  Not because I lacked desire, but my body took these things very, very hard.  I wanted to die.  I knew I had to be at work again and I actually usually went on these days.  But they were very, very bad.  The nausea was so bad that every moment I feared I’d throw up but it was also so terrible that I couldn’t even force food into my stomach.  My anxiety and pain made me feel afraid that my heart would explode in my chest.  I would spend time sending texts or emails saying how sorry I was and trying to make excuses.

These were the days where the very small, subtle voice in the back of my head would try to suggest to me that this was not normal and that maybe I had a problem.  These are the days I would find that young voice that would say ‘I am never drinking again’.  My body, my mind and my soul had been run over by a steam roller and there was very little left.  My being felt 200 years old.  All I wanted was to get home and get in my bed again.  I would often think ‘if almost any other person I know felt this way ONE time due to drinking, they’d never touch that stuff again’.  I actually still think that’s true.

Well, here is how I leave you on this post.  After all of that, after all of those feelings and horrible ups and downs, eventually I’d get to the end of the day and back in bed.  This would be the end of a three day roller coaster ride.  3 days!  And the worst part about it was when I awoke the next day, it was Day 1 again.  Question number 1 – what do I have to do tonight?  Looks like its Friday… I’ll plan on seeing you again Sunday….if I make it through this one.

Gobo Fraggle – An Alcoholic’s Savior

fuck cancer

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.

GOBO FraggleGobo-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….

the alcoholic monologue

there’s never a good time to realize that you’re f*cked upSay-when

There’s REALLY never a good time to tell people you love that you’re f*cked up.  But there does come a point when it becomes easier to do it.  Then, if you’re lucky, it becomes such a part of you that you tell anyone at any time, and I truly mean you are lucky if you make it to this point, a lot of people never do.

“Oh you have an uncle who is an alcoholic?  That’s really super interesting.  Has that been fun for you?  What’s he like?  Maybe I know him from our club of insane people.  Thanks for trying to relate to me!”

Ok, so we actually DO have a club, but some people don’t quite get that joke.  I’m not sure they should either.  But you don’t have to know me.  You don’t have to relate to me and you don’t have to pretend to understand what it is like.  There might be an outward appearance of slapstick humor and quick one liners about the whole thing, but that’s just because the truth of the situation is sad and painful and hurts people.  It’s not fair in this instance to speak anymore in the plural form because while there is plenty of humor here, I don’t want to speak for anyone else.  I was able to stop drinking years ago, but not everyone is so lucky.


“i should quit drinking too, I drink too much”

If you tell people you are an alcoholic, get ready for this one.  Well how do you like to get drunk?  More importantly, how do you like to drink?  “It’s drinking time, boys!”  “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” (is there a dumber f*cking phrase in the English language?)  You want to research and answer the drinking questions on yourself?  Go right ahead.  But you telling me you need to quit or cut back or whatever it is, that’s like me walking up to Ted Bundy and saying, “I sure can hurt people sometimes too, perhaps I should cut back.”  Maybe you smile or laugh at that analogy.  Well, I’m not.  (Ok I am AND I giggled when I realized the pun in there about cut back too.  When you think about that it also clearly speaks to my insanity in giggling at a pun inside an analogy comparing my own hurtful ways to one of the worst mass murderers in history.)  Anyway, that sh*t is true though.  You “drink too much” is a problem?  Well then figure it out, pal, but I have my own questions for you.  Lets call this next section:


am I am alcoholic questionnaire – using real life examples – answer true or false

  1. When I drink, I drink to excess on purpose and force people to stay up until 7a and listen to the score of the Shawshank Redemption while I cry and talk about life.
  2. My drinking causes issues at work, usually because I have a hard time by 11A talking normally to clients because I have polished off the bottle of red wine I bought at 8A on the way to work.
  3. I do stupid things when I drink, specifically during blackouts, such as paying a DJ $20 to sing your favorite song before the bar closes, even though it is not a karaoke bar or DJ, then falling backwards off the table you were dancing on and hitting your head.

that sh*t is funny……

The stories I tell are ones of good times and crazy moments.  I’m f*cked up, but who wants to hear about someone pissing in their own bed at the age of 30?  Well that DID happen, but it’s funnier when you tell the story about pissing the bed at age 22, the “bed” is a bunk bed, you’re on the top bunk and your buddy is on the bottom bunk.  Then the despicable become laughable, yet, the reality of the situation is that they are both actually just sad.  At a birthday party the joke gets more outrageous as each gift is opened and it is another bottle of vodka.  Everyone enjoys the gag and it is actually rather comical that at my birthday party I got 9 bottles of vodka.  The comedy seems to vanish quicker than the week and a half it took me to finish them all, except 1, which made it up to the last day I used it.

Let me be clear that I am not trying to create some sort of environment here that requires sympathy or pity.  I don’t want that at all.  I’ve seen plenty of “those looks”.  I’m just saying there is the surface and there is something underneath.


but when you put it that way, it’s not that funny

I may need to get real here.  I don’t even know if anyone will read this, but maybe someone does.  Even more so, maybe someone who actually questions his or her drinking reads it and I have to at least speak to that person.  I am that person.  I will always be that person.  I am different and I do things differently than other people.  But one day things did change for me.  This is no happy story, my friend.  I didn’t slam a drink down on the bar and say “I have had enough.”  My first moment came with a blood soaked shirt, a psychiatrist and a lot of tears on the faces of the people I love the most.  And that shit ain’t f*cking funny at all.

So if you want to relate, then let’s relate.  Do you know a plumber?  (If not, just play along.)  I don’t know any plumbers personally, but if I did and I happen to be speaking to another plumber, I’d probably say “Oh, my so and so is a plumber.”  Not knowing any plumbers personally I can’t say for certain, but if I did and had this conversation and made this comment I would imagine that plumber would have no more to say to me after the comment in particular than he did before I made the comment.  This is such a funny human trait that I am guilty of myself.  But when we speaking to another human being we do not know we look for relatable material to pass the time while we converse.  For some reason, we naturally relate by telling each other we know someone who does what they do or knows what they know or whatever.  Yet most of the time knowing that person gives us absolutely no more material to discuss with this stranger.  To be clear, I believe support and compassion are two of the greatest things on earth.  I just find us humans funny sometimes how we try to find the ways to do that.  So let me start the conversation by stating that I am an alcoholic, I’m a drug addict.


i have a great life idea!

“It sure is a pretty day outside today,” says no drug addict who isn’t high.  You see, I am a drug addict.  I like to use drugs to get me high.  I use the term drug referring to alcohol as well as other substances.  One I get those substances in my body I can focus on you.  THEN I can tell you it is a nice day out.  If I am high, I can sit here and tell you the f*cking opera is worth the money.  I don’t care about it.

I wouldn’t say I decided at a very young age to grow up and f*ck everything up with alcohol and drugs.  I would not say that.  My son had to fill out a sheet for pre-school about what I want to be when I grow up.  He picked a Ninja Turtle.  I didn’t read all of the class’s entries, but I didn’t see “town drunk”, “pothead” or “deadbeat drug addict” for anyone’s answer.  I guess I should have since I could have possibly at least been the one kid in class to fulfill his self-appointed destiny.  Main problem is, I wouldn’t have cared anyway.  This brings me to my last point……


you still haven’t told us what it’s like

There is a certain kind of pain reserved in life when it comes to aspects of love.  Have you ever loved someone so much before but you couldn’t tell them?  Perhaps they were in love with someone else, perhaps YOU were also in love with someone else at the same time, if you believe that to be possible.  For the point of this section, I’ll ask you to try and follow even if you have not.  When you love someone that much but cannot tell them, ever, it hurts real badly.  You want to be around them SO much and SO often, but you can’t and you need to be careful because if you let on too strongly they may become afraid and retreat.  You’re in a terrible, friend-zone-ish place that you will struggle with every single day and not be able to tell one person about it, because you will be shunned, you will be made to feel like your feelings are wrong or selfish.  But you know you love this person.  There is something about them that makes you smile at the very thought of their being.  You fantasize about a different dimension where you are able to be happy together.  You know that there are a handful of factors that may swoop in and take this person from you at any point in time.  This person is everything you ever thought happiness could be and you can’t understand why fate would play the cruelest joke in the world on you and put them in your life in a capacity where you can never be with them yet you must be around them constantly.  You also thank fate for giving you at least this.  Your insanity grows more and more each day as you struggle with whether or not to come clean……


this post is about a girl?  it’s about a crush?

No.  Well, if you want me to make the worst, most awful joke ever, it’s sort of about Mary Jane or Cindy Smirnoff I guess.  But my point was that’s what it’s like to be a drug addict.  At least for me.  It was a constant struggle of getting enough but not too much so people could tell.  You wish you could live without fear of judgement if people knew.  You can’t understand why you were given this terrible affliction, but you can’t imagine living without it and you know you are one discovery away from it being possibly taken away forever.  You dream and desire to be high when you’re not and when you are high, it’s rarely enough and may God be with you if the drugs stop working because there is no worse place on this planet than that.


i think I’m sad now…..

You’re not sad.  Don’t be sad.  Remember the jokes, remember the funny.  Embrace your faults, embrace yourself for who you are.  I was a craptastic, selfish, rude, a**hole addicted to alcohol and drugs and look at me now, I cut out the alcohol and drugs!  Life IS sad.  But not always, I hope.  But the sad is what can also bring us to happy sometimes.  You don’t know me because you’re a drug addict like me, but you can still get to know me.  Just remember that when we meet, and I tell you I am an alcoholic, don’t tell me about your cousin, feel free to ask me what it’s like being an alcoholic.  Then maybe we can actually get to know each other and have a real conversation.