Hi everyone, and happy weekend to you all!
I first want to thank everyone for the support of this blog, my life, and everything else I have going on. What I have in life is only possible because of God and others, others like you all.
Last weekend, I shared about my final year of high school and the scary turn my life took in a short time. When I found out I was having a baby boy, I knew life had to change, and I packed up from Massachusetts and drove to the Mankato, Minnesota hospital the next day. I made it just after he was born. As you can see, I had a bit of shock when I saw, for the first time, the little human being I created. But I could get past that. I had to. This was my boy, one who wouldn't experience what I did.
I left the hospital that day and was drunk by that night, celebrating with keg stands and heavy drinking all night. Some things just couldn't change, it seemed. The partying continued. So did my drive to be a good, present father. I slept in my minivan many nights that fall and winter, ensuring I was close to my son so I could visit daily. Aiden's mother had begun dating, and I struggled with the thought of another man around my little boy, so I convinced her maybe we could make it work. After all, though I was still drinking, I had given up the hard drugs, so it had to be better.
Well, it wasn't. I lived there for 6-9 months or so, and was mostly miserable in my own skin. All my friends were partying and having fun, and I was home tending to a girlfriend and child. That was more apparent than I remember, per the next picture. Addiction clearly had its grip on me, and staying sober was hard and miserable. I still drank on weekends, when I could, and heavily so. One night in 2006, I was picked up for drunk driving. I had just purchased a car and was driving home after a night of beers at a buddy's place. I was pulled over one block from home with two tail lights out. Ridiculous, huh? That's a normal occurrence in the alcoholic's life. As you can imagine, that didn't do any good for my relationship.
A month or so later, I had moved out and was living with my boss. We worked construction. We drank hard; after work, during work, sometimes before work. That ended when I shattered the windshield of his car, with him in it, on a night full of drunken anger. Again, ridiculous, right? Not for me and my life.
I moved to my mom's in Claremont, and the trouble only progressed. No environment was ever going to save me from the real problem - the pain in my mind and heart. I did all I could to drown out all my feelings of regret, remorse, guilt, shame and worry. I made it back to Waseca to see my son every once in a while, but I was slowly doing exactly what I said I would never do - leave my son fatherless. I couldn't see it that way. It just didn't occur to me. That's what addiction will do. Every. Single. Time.
In the end, most of my trips back to that town were to party and find more drugs. One fall night in 2007, jobless and essentially lifeless, I found my way back to Waseca. I spent the evening and night at the bars, drinking my feelings away. I also found my way back to my ex-girlfriend's place at some point, where I found and helped myself to a bottle of pain meds. Off to la-la land I went. I don't exactly remember what happened, but from others' stories, there was nearly a fight outside the bar after close, and I decided I should keep the peace. Or stir things up more, per the outcome. What I do know is I was jumped by several men and left lying unconscious in the street, found some time later by a woman walking home.
I woke up in the hospital and lost it. I didn't know what had happened, but something in me did, and my response was nearly violent. I was tied down with restraints. The cops arrived and gave me a minor consumption, another to add to the list. Thank God they didn't dig more for the prescription bottle in my front pocket, as I told them it was my ibuprofen. Another very scary incident that didn't phase me in the slightest way.
20 years old, in and out of jails, hospitals, and stages of pure insanity. Yet somehow, I managed to drown out all the thoughts, questions and warnings of everyone, including myself. After all, kids that age are bound to get into trouble and party hard, right? I didn't have much to lose at that point, materially speaking, and never really did, so it wasn't as easy to see how bad life had gotten.
I recovered from that drug and alcohol binge that ended in the hospital. For any normal person, that would have been the end of that phase. But not for the addict. Not for me. That was only the beginning of the most hellish years of my life.
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Until next time, my people.