Thursday, July 28, 2005

My name is Jeremy and I am a Drunk - Volume 1

I have often heard the phrase "I became an alcoholic the day the doctor smacked me on the ass, and of course that was my first resentment!" which has become a rather bland part of many of my humorous antidotes. I find more solace in the knowledge that another often over used statement truly applies to me that being "I don't remember the first time I ever drank an Ice Coffee, and I live for those now. I will always cherish the memory of the first time I drank alcohol, and it tried to kill me daily."

I was unfortunately born, the ugliest smallest kid in the history of Portsmouth NH, and I was terrified of everything from the moment I was introduced to someone other than my mother. I never fit in anywhere, and that wasn't fine with me, like most people will pretend to be the case. I had no goals, and very little made me happy as a child, from what I actually remember. I also was an only child, so there was nobody on this earth that was actually "forced" to play with me, so I started right off as an isolationist. My fantasies were never in sync with my realities, so I did what most children in my position would do, after my mother left at 5, which was strive to become an adult. I had such wonderful role models to follow as well, since that was the only way I was to truly accomplish my goal. Observation taught me by the time I was 7, that adults .... Drank a lot ... Emotionally abused each other ... And they all ran away from their problems. I was already prepared to embark on this adventure toward adulthood.

The clearest memory that I have from my childhood had a beginning and an end, but absolutely no middle whatsoever. I share this because it adds to the drama of this whole adventure that spans my past. It was a night just before my 7th birthday, my father was at work (teacher by day, bartender by night to try to pay off the debt my mother left) and I was left home alone, as I always was. The neighbor would check up on me every once in a while. I found a bottle of Dewars (yes I remember the bottle to this day) and proceeded to drink it. I drank it strait, I drank it long, and I drank it passionately. I also know that somewhere along the line I stopped remembering drinking it at all.

A major signpost was just run over you see as I woke up the next morning not remembering anything, and both my arms bandaged up. The story was pretty simple ... the neighbor found me passed out, and I spent the night screaming about all the 1st graders I was going to kill while a police officer held me down in the hospital. My father was not happy, but it was one of those times for him to hide from a problem. The issue wasn't discussed unless it was needed by a family member who wanted to install some sort of guilt on me for being a bad person all along. You see how this works?

I learned absolutely nothing from the whole event. My mind was fixated on feeling like I did before I passed out that night, and it was actually a little excited about the craven lunatic I appeared to have become when I didn't remember as well. Nothing from that day forward ever kept me from booze. I was the sad looking little boy picking through trash cans at the ball field, or near the sleazy bars in downtown Portsmouth, hoping to find anything left behind by those weirdoes who, well leave behind. I had become very good at recognizing who it was in the family or circle of friends that had "a hard time keeping track of their booze" and I supplemented my "trash can" social drinking with whatever I could pilfer. The vicious cycle completely removed my childhood from me. I remember so little before the age of 15 it has been known to scare family members. The sad part about it was that I was the 80's version of the functioning alcoholic, I did ok in school, and I managed to stay out of trouble, even if I was starting to become the town drunk to many.

The uneventful ramblings of a teenage alcoholic became pretty serious when I was just leaving 8th grade and moving into the 9th grade. My daily "beatings" had made me a very pain tolerant, and angry young man, who's fantasies were becoming more psychotic. My 8th grade guidance counselor started making note of how many days I had come into school "not" reeking of booze (3 as he told me later) and my father, who was one of the teachers at that school, was still running and hiding from it. Covering for me as best he could, just until I could get over to the high school. My temper was becoming a bit of a problem though, as I now was starting to lash out, at people I really despised. The summer between the two school years was spent getting brought home by the police often, and I don't remember a single day of it. My swan song at the local High School was famous in these parts for many years, and I don't remember it at all.

As I ran over this sign post it was yet another one of those after the fact moments, that didn't make me miss a beat. I woke up in one of the stone houses at the cemetery down the street. The school truant officer was there waking me up and telling me that I was no longer welcome at High School because I am far to violent, and I never remembered BEING violent. I also noted that I had never seen the inside of one of these things before (or so I thought as there were a lot of liquor bottles around) and I was a little confused as to how he even found me there, since I was rather shocked to find me there. He assured me that the police told him that this is where I slept if I wasn't at home.

My new school, was a very wonderful private school nearby, that my father (who is still running) managed to pull some strings to get me into. I heard a rumor that the Headmaster slept with my mother when my parents were still married, but I have no proof and nobody really talks about it, that I trust anyway. I was there for a while, but I really hated these losers that I was going to school with. I wore a shirt and tie with a wonderful blazer to school every day, and that sucked rocks also. I was officially the worst kid at the best school, and I was not only telling myself that daily, but I had reassurance that for once in my life I might be correct about something. The alcoholism, and my daily drinking followed me there too. I had been sent to live with my grandparent, who had plenty of booze for me to drink, and fell under the category of, would never notice.

It wasn't much of an existence over the next year, but I stayed out of trouble somewhat, the school gave up on keeping me on campus so I was starting to just wander off at will and get drunker. The culmination of all of this led me to the sign post that first brought me to AA, and I wasn't to happy about it at the time, but it was a starting point at least. You see, some things go full circle, and you never know when a vicious cycle might be broken either, in one form or another.

I woke up in my bed at my grandparents house, my arms were bandaged up, and I had no recollection of what had happened the night before. I do remember laying there in bed terrified to leave my room. I knew that I was going to hear something horrible about myself, but I might as well just try to get through it and wait for everyone to run and hide from it afterwards. This was different though. My father had spent the night on the couch, and he looked like he had had an awful night. He told me the story personally about what really happened when I was 6, and was now telling me about how last night was exactly the same only I was going to kill 10th graders instead. The police (because it took 3 this time) had done everything short of shooting me to keep me under control, and I had to get some help. Period.

Rehab wasn't really that bad. I liked the food, I think, but I heard absolutely nothing in that 60 days, or so I thought. I also remember watching the famous Bill Buckner moment in the World Series while I was in there. Beyond that ... simply put ... I had sex and moved in with the first woman in rehab that wanted me, and was drunk within 6 months ... single again within weeks, and worse than that .... I became a public drunk officially.

My evenings were spent at the beach fighting, and being totally clueless about it the next morning. It became apparent to me that I was falling apart at the seams, but the worst thing of it all was I had this nagging agony in the back of my head that I knew better. It was killing me really, but it took another sign post to bring me back to AA. Waking up in jail. Fighting, destructive behavior, and it could have been attempted murder from what the officer said. Hat in hand, I went back to AA.

I was ready to get sober, I told them all as I entered the room at the noon time meeting, and I was ready to absorb all of the wonderful pithy statements I could, and go to a lot of meetings, and of course get hooked up with the first sick woman I could get my hands on. I learned nothing, and I was damn ready to prove it. After that incredibly sick relationship ended I started just going to meetings to make her have to look at me. I didn't drink for almost 23 months, and I was still acting like a bar room drunk. I was still at the beach every Saturday (and logged a lot of time in the jail for various violent things) but worse of all I was just being a sad representative of anyone who ever quit drinking for whatever reason. My whole attitude was based on ... Well I could Be DRUNK .... I'm an alcoholic, and that's why I act this way ... Deal with it!

I dealt with it the only way a still suffering alcoholic does in the end. The month of Hell, as I have so often called it. Nothing special happened to make me drink. I just did it. It seemed smart at the time, and as weird as it sounds I still thank God for it. You see I was a diseased animal without an identifiable symptom. I wasn't drinking, and to the non-alcoholic that is usually the only symptom they understand. This last hurrah was spent waking up EVERY morning with no recollection of the night before. Most mornings with blood on me, and very frightened people around me. I was a complete and utter drunk, with nothing to show for his existence except fear from anyone who ever came in contact with me. It was finally time for me to run, and I had made all of the arrangements to move to Manchester and start my life over, drunk as I always truly wanted to be.

My going away party, was a big surprise, for me at first, and for everyone else in the end. I don't remember the start, and for the first time ever I remembered the end, before I woke up with bandages on my arms. I came too, with my knee on the back of a total stranger, and I was trying to kill him. Perhaps that was not the real intention, but it was the only thing that I could think of, since it was obvious that I was slamming his head in the door of my oven, so many times that the entire front of it was smashed to bits. I started screaming at the passed out stranger, because I desperately wanted to know what he did to me, and thus forced me to do this to him. The people who were there, wrestled me out of the apartment, and to this day nobody there has been willing to talk about the whole incident. The police came to pick me up, as they so often did, and I spent the night in jail crying, begging God to give me anything. Sanity, death, clarity, I didn't care I just wanted help, and the police who were there that night didn't come anywhere near my cell, because they knew already what everyone at that party finally realized. My insanity had finally gotten the best of me. ;8o)