Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wake-up calls and free-falls.

Next week will mark six months since I've had a drink. I never thought I’d ever have a reason to say something like that, but I just did.

I’m lucky to be here. I should probably be dead. The number of close calls and second chances I’ve had don’t seem fair. Not everybody gets more than one wakeup call. I’ve had several.

If I stop to think about all the crazy, scary, senseless shit I’ve done over the years when I was drunk — wow.

Let’s see, there was the time I drove into a curb at full speed, blew out three tires and still thought it was ok to drive home — on metal rims. Sparks everywhere, five miles an hour on a major city street and somehow thinking everything was going as planned. It didn’t.

There was the night I mouthed off to a group of five jackoffs in the bar parking lot and got an entire bottom row of teeth rearranged. That was expensive. Funny how badass you think you are when you’re wasted. I forgot I wasn’t a fighter. I was reminded with one punch.

Then there are my recent troubles, including my inebriated freefall down a 15-foot cliff that came to an abrupt stop when my head smashed into the rocks at the bottom. And my run-in with the law that finds me still counting the days to full freedom — 10 more to go.

These are just a few of the more memorable moments in the life of drunk me. There are more, some I have no recollection of. And there are many other, let's just call them "bad judgment calls," that have taken place over the years under heavy influence, but no need to talk about those here. I think my mom reads this blog.

I’ve learned through lots of practice that my biggest problem is a lack of a shut-off switch. I was always the last man standing. I never wanted to go home. When everybody else was starting to shut it down, I was just getting started. Nothing ever good happens after midnight. I don’t know if truer words have ever been spoken.

I know I open myself up to embarrassment, maybe even some judgment, by sharing this. But it has been an extremely long six months of thinking, self-evaluating and growing up. I’m proud of the hard work I’ve put in and feel like I have a story to tell. Maybe it’s a story someone out there might be familiar with. Maybe my story can help somebody else start to rewrite theirs.

I don’t know if I’ve had my last drink for the rest of my life. I do miss beer. It's delicious. Maybe someday I’ll get to a place where I can have a few with my friends, without feeling like I need to take it to the next level. Maybe someday I’ll have a better idea of where to find my shut-off switch. I’m not there yet.

For now, when I feel the urge, I’ll just rub the big scar on top of my head for good luck.

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