Memories – The Raw, Unedited Truth

As mentioned in the post, The Pack Rat , I dug out my old journals from the beginning of my sobriety. They were tucked away in my filing cabinet which I haven’t opened since I moved here in July. I have a notepad dated, “12/1 – 12/28”. During my rereading and transcribing, I had to take breaks of crying and deep breathing. I just learned that parts of my story I have told for years are a little off – oh well. It is my hope this helps people of all kinds dealing with addiction or someone they know with addiction. This is the raw, unedited truth of what goes on in a person’s head of an active addict.

Now I have to admit something. The first four days, which I spent in detox, I don’t remember much at all because I was doped on Valium. Now, I have to bring up a point. Alcohol is the only substance in which you can die as a result of withdrawal symptoms. This argument, which I have had with countless others, is something I will perhaps share later. The point is my tremors were so bad and the concern of more harm to my body so great I was given “drugs” during the withdrawal process. Therefore, this whole entry was actually written on the first day of my stay in rehabilitation.

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Friday, November 31st to Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Hardest Day of my Life

One of the hardest days of my life. Woke up at 3a.m. cracking open a beer or maybe it was six. My mind started to wander. Thousand thoughts going through my head. Can’t recall everything it was so fast.

** blank for three hours **

At 1pm I had my last beer. Something snapped, I’m not going to Gary’s. I’ll just make coffee. As soon as that first gulp goes down and smoking a pack of cigarettes in the process I was going to ask Gary for a beer. But my first intuition strongly told me, “No!”. I kept my word.

Than later in the afternoon I thought about what I called, bad thoughts. I had no intention of killing myself physically but images of, “What is going to happen now? Will I lose everything: my home, possessions and family [written almost unreadable].” Unconsciously I thought, “It doesn’t matter ‘cus no one cares.”

So I made the decision to start smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. The tremors started to get extreme. I couldn’t think straight. Moox swings from one extreme to another. Absolute balling to extreme anger. Tasha wasn’t much help as she was in heat. I was going to wait until 8 or 9 am to Gary for a rid. But at this point I was afraid that if I did anything I would snap into some unconscious alter ego. If done, with thoughts of “wanting everything to end.”

** Sleep – Valium kicking in . . . ***

But wasn’t again it was something consciously I was thinking it was my fear that subconsciously something was going to happen. Because if I snapped, did something to harm myself, no one really cared and days later when my body was rotting in my trailer.

At this point I had drank another five cups of coffee, smoked another pack of cigs and the nerves were on edge. At times I would walk around the house in my underwear trembling until I could repress the emotions. Another breaking point coming…

The thing holding me from calling 911 was Tasha. She’s in heat and she annoyed the hell out of me. Licking my feet, smuggling next to besides my body and the keyboard. The instant yapping put me in a rage. I would shoo her off the bd, she would return up above my head. I wanted to punch the wall or throw a book at her. Two hours later went by she got the hint and slept somewhere. Meanwhile, I crawled into a fetal passion [position] for two hours try[ing] to fixate myself on something to clear my head. Bad thoughts again.

[Middle of the night, December 1 . . .]

I talked to Jeanne. After a long conversation with her she got quite concerned. She demanded I call 911 or ask the neighbor to drive me. She was very worried to let me go but had to go to sleep herself.

Two hours went by…

I wasn’t going to call 911 for EMS or cops. Confidentiality my ass. Before I was an EMS member, confidentiality has non-existent. Nor has I wanting to get Gary. He’s an alcoholic too and I know he would gossip. Bad thoughts, shaking, mood swings from right to left. I didn’t know who [how] much I could take.

Jeanne was going to call CCP at Binghamton General. But she had other priorities too. So at least by [???]

I still couldn’t concentrate. I ended up watching TV on the internet to pass time. Coffee got cold, I was change [chain] smoking.

Laster that morning Jeanette called back. After just a few moments, she said she felt that I was much worse and was very concerned for my safety. She was going to call CCP Bing because I had other criminal concerns. Mood swing. If I incriminated myself what would happen. She said not to say a word but she wasn’t sure. She asked for my address. She would call CCP and get back to me. I expected a case worker or EMS and cops to show up. I started cleaning my pigsty.

Behold a cop I meant before showed up at 1100. We talked for an hour or so. He contested that he didn’t feel leaving me alone was going to be a good idea, so he was going to drive me to Binghamton General. On the way there all I could think about was my arrest for DUI. Also, “What am I doing? I have literally no life. Tasha, WTF?” He didn’t say a word the whole way. He directed me to ER. I was met by an ER male nurse.

He took prelim info. I was a crazy caze [? – hot mess?]. I couldn’t clearly explain but after some talking I was called down. Than the admin clerk that was quick. Maybe fifteen minutes later I was in the ER. No question I was going to Detox unit. I was lead to a room. Nice – three patients and just me present. It’s cold as hell in the ER.

I was at the ER at 1:15pm. As usual I was left to my own thoughts, not good ones. Mood experiences. I would ball about crying. I could return, what about Tasha. The trl (trailer) I could care less about. I thought of moving to some state to start over. At pts [points] I would stare at the walls to keep sane. I had mixed reactions – bell would go off and I wanted to punch the wall. Other balling moments. At one point luckily when the detox guy came in I was a mess again. Flight or fight mood. My hands were clinched. I had a thought $4 in my pocket, I don’t know where I am, I didn’t know where I was but I could get a beer, find a store and get run over and I wouldn’t care. He confirmed I was getting a bed and admitted.

By this time it was six. Still in street clothes. I was given a prelim physical and the history assessment. Dinner at seven. I was in bed by at [8 pm ?] but woken up 2-3 hours for stats and meds.
Good night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pack Rat

I have to admit over the years I have become quite the pack rat. With my move to a new home, I vowed to change. Thus far, I have done quite well. But there is a reason I tend to keep everything, “‘Cus one day you may need it?” **chuckles** Well, it’s paid off in a major way. I have now recovered my written journals at the beginning of my sobriety.

I keep saying “it’s my last journal entry”, so I admit I am wrong. The first entry in my written journal for Dec 1st is eight (on a sheet o“f 6in x 9in) notepad paper. As I look at the 2 notepads and another 8 x 11in notepad, I apparently kept journaling until almost the end of September 2008. There is a lot to go over.

While I would love to record them all here, I’m not sure if I have the time.  Then again, I may get inspired and do it anyway. I haven’t made that decision.

Here is a timeline of my early years in sobriety:

  • December 2007 – 4 days spent in detox & another 24 days spent in an inpatient treatment program
  • January 2008 through March 2008 – lived at a Halfway House program
  • March 2008 through January 2009 – lived in a Supportive Living program
  • February 2009 through August 2012 – lived in Shelter Plus Care program
  • September 2012 – graduated from program and began living on my own

I was in “treatment” for an extended period of time because honestly I didn’t trust myself. Fortunately, I was provided with a structured environment which provided opportunities which more responsibility was put on me the longer I was sober. It all paid off in so many ways.

So here we are ten years later, still sober!

 

Memory Lane – Things Couldn’t Get Worse, Could They?

For those of you reading the “Memory Lane” series, one of my last journal entries in 2007 was Memory Lane – Hitting My Rock Bottom .  Things couldn’t get worse, could they? Oh but they did – a lot worse. These two days, November 30, 2007 and December 1, 2007, were the worst and the best days of my entire life.

Complete insanity took over between November 28, 2007 and November 30, 2007. Though I had written in my journal I had hit rock bottom, I had not. Could things get any worse? Oh yes, yes they did!

Where did my addiction take me?

home_spencer_routeWhile my memory is fuzzy (still after ten years of sobriety), I do remember one thing – the insanity of getting beer no matter what the cost. I was living in Spencer, NY, with no car, no job, about to get evicted and all I care about is getting more beer.

Since I was “cut off” from so-called “friends”/”neighbors”, I had to find my own way to the store to get more beer.  The only option was to walk to the local store, almost 3 and a half miles. I remember it took approximately an hour and a half to walk to Spencer. With my last two beers tucked in my jacket, off I went up the country road to the store. Three hours later, after purchasing a 12 pack, I had one or two beers left. Back to the store I went. This was the last couple of days for me. Walking back and forth to the store until either I was to drunk to walk or passed out at home. Then I ran out of money and beer.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

At the time I didn’t know the physical consequences from my drinking. Well actually I knew one – tremors. However, there are a host of other conditions that may present themselves during withdrawal. I experienced them all!

Before his death, I remember my father writing a check for me seeing his hand shake uncontrollably the writing was unreadable he tore the check writing another one. Over the years, I had noticed the same condition. When I wrote checks, I couldn’t recognize my own handwriting.  I developed a distaste for writing anything.

I distinctly remember not sleeping at all. There were so many emotions rapidly firing in my brain: anxiety, confusion, fatigue, fear, etc. This included hallucinations. My mother, when she was alive, was in a nursing home having hallucinations because the nurse had forgot to take off multiple nicotine patches. My sister and I recall her talking to a man in the corner who wasn’t there. I was doing the same thing saying to myself in fear, “You’re not there. Stop talking. Go away!” As the hours went on, the withdrawal symptoms got worse:

This is my last diary entry (I didn’t realize I wrote one until now):

December 1, 2007 @ 3:49 am. Mood: scared.

Title:  Mental Breakdown

This is the worst day of my life. I’m having a breakdown. I’m tying to wait until 8am so that I can call Gary to drive me to Binghamton General and use his phone so that I can talk to someone. This is so hard. Keep taking deep breaths!

The insanity continued with thoughts of something I had never contemplated in my life – suicide. I was convinced, I was alone in the world. There was no other option for me. As the first snow of the year had started to fall, I thought I could take myself in the backyard, slit my throat and just die! No one would find me from weeks, if ever. No one cared.

This was the darkest, deepest place in my life.

I had no hope.

 

 

 

Memory Lane – Hitting My Rock Bottom

 

As I read the last final entries of my diary in 2007, I feel like I’m reliving those moments right now but without the alcohol in my system. Someone, who I recognize now as my Higher Power, was sending me signals; I just want’s listening to anyone by the voices in my head. The only word coming to my mind is CHAOS!

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Journal Entry – I’m Just a Drunk (11/28/2007)

Yesterday, my neighbors found out that DSS (Dept of Social Services) underpaid them for years! So one got $5700 and the other $3000 paid to them in benefits all at once. One friend got me a carton of cigarettes and loaned me $100 for fuel. The other neighbor I spent three hours at his house getting drunk. This morning I woke up at 8:30am. I forgot, drunk me yesterday, forgot to buy coffee. So I cracked a beer open. NEVER have I done so in the past. My rule is to wait until 12 noon. But I bought a 30 pack last night. So its done, its stated here…I’m a fracking (as they say on the new Battle Star Gallatica show on Sci Fi) drunk! This is definitely my bottom, there is only one way that that is UP!

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Summary of events going on at this time:

  1.  I was three months behind in rent. My landlord had enough threatening to evict me by December 1st for non payment of rent.
  2. I had committed several criminal offenses to be where I was at the time.
  3. I had just received my HEAP fill for my fuel tank (so I had heat!). So, that $100 got spent somehow (I don’t remember where it all went). Perhaps I gave it to my landlord but that wasn’t likely.
  4. I still had no food in the house. I was living on coffee and beer. Now I had no beer.
  5. Laundry had piled up in my laundry room. That was the least of my problems.
  6. Yet, I had hope – something was about to happen.

Of the other events that happened at this time, I can only name a few. What wasn’t written in my journal was my so-called friends and I had an argument, so they cut me off. I was truly alone in the world. However, running around in my house was my cat, Fate.

I had received Fate from another mutual so-called friend (another alcoholic), Rick. He had a large litter failing at selling the kittens. She was my world. Yet, I never got her neutered. She went into periods of “heat” which drove me “crazy”. What I did next was imaginable but happened. When she was in “heat” she would whine, drag her arse on the floor all the while crawling toward me. For me, it just broke me. Without a thought, I grabbed her by the scruff of her neck throwing her across the room, she hit the lower portion of the opposite wall, landed on all four paws and continued to whine at me. I was in complete SHOCK – what the F**K had I done? I cried and held her for hours after the incident.

As my own selfishness consumed me, I didn’t see the “signs” all around me. Only now, as I read back on my entries, do I see something.

Horoscope for 11/27/2007

You feel stronger than ever now and ready to take on twice as many challenges as you have lately. It’s a good time to lay the groundwork for any major plans you’ve been making in the recent past.

For some reason I posted this poem:

New Beginnings
By Lady Sayuri
11-19-07

New beginnings
Arise each day
Lessons we learn
Along the way
Change is inevitable
Metamorphosis within
Progresses us forward
An evolution begins
Embrace these waves of change
Momentum moves us higher
In our vibrational frequencies
The Divine inspired

I can only feel my blood pressure rise as I re-read this entry.  Despite the chaos, the signs were there. However, in active addiction we are consumed with a host of “bad” feelings which we dwell on. Typically this is called “The Committee”. The Committee, for me, consisted of Me, Myself and I. “The Committee” argued constantly. We should do this . . . We should do this . . . We should do this . . .

The circle spins and there is no end . . .

 

 

 

Memory Lane – Broke & Lonely

As promised, I will re-post my old blog entries from November 2007 when I was in active addiction. This is a prime example of how selfish alcoholics can be. And to have them in the same room is even more dangerous!

All Things Must Come to an End (posted 11/19/2007)

I want to thank everyone who sent support to me back on Thursday when I announced that I was going to go through a drug/alcohol program. Even though this is something the State is requiring me to do, I believe it is the only way to rid myself of the addiction of drinking. Unfortunately, it can’t happen for a while as all the red tape has to get cut and paperwork filed in order. My case worker called me today, “I need this, that, this and that.” Ugh! Other more positive news . . . if you can it that My horoscope matches my feelings today. Before I read it, I was in a chipper mood. While I still am, I’m thinking that if I ask the company of friends (physical) they will only take me down. So even though its solitude, I think its best to stay at home. I can talk to supportive friends online all day long. I haven’t had a beer or cigarette since Thursday due to lack of funds. I don’t want the opportunity right now. Fall is over, Winter is here. There is a good 1/2 to inch of snow actually sticking on the ground. However tomorrow is suppose to be in the 50’s after today’s low 30’s. I was suppose to go to Owego with Cal today to apply for HEAP but I see that he has forgotten, as he’s over at Gary’s doing something. He was suppose to bring 5 gallons of kerosene to help me until I get HEAP because I took care of his dog. Has not’t happen. Convicted felon can get automatic food stamps, no rehabilitation and I have to wait? Besides he is a no good, lying, cheating, stealing, leech and right now I rather not care to know him! Gary was suppose to go to Owego today to get his and his son’s prescriptions but he has no gas! ROFL. We ran out of gas THREE times (I did twice myself going to get more!). To fucking bad buddy, your cash tree has no more cash on it. You and your friends are going to have to find someone else to leech from. I bought him a 12pk and cigs last week too. Supposedly he is suppose to get some money but again I get screwed. Day at home in solitude sounds good to me. I don’t need to get tangled up in lies and deceit. I’m tired of it. So tired of it I slept 12 hours last night. I haven’t done that in ages. Now I have a clear mind and I actually feel like doing something constructive. Perhaps clean this nasty house that was hit by a tornado over the last month? It’s bad! First, let me shower! I feel the need to take one.

Memory Lane – Background

During our addictions, at one time or another we suddenly come to our senses, knowing what we must do if we are to have any future. As my ten year sober anniversary comes closer, I’ve given readers an insight of where my head was swimming in my alcoholism – “A Year Ago Today – A Memory“. It doesn’t paint a complete picture of the chaos in my life at that time.  While there was hope, my alcoholism’s death grip continued to get tighter by the day. At the time I was living alone in a two bedroom trailer swimming in cases of Milwakee’s Best beer.

At various times of the last couple of months I reached out to my old employer hoping I would be rehired for seasonal work. Instead he sent me a devastating email, “Based on past work performance, we have decided not to employ you at this time.” I remember saying to myself, “How could he not? Who does he think he is? If I’m not employed that place is not going to function.” Now what do I do? I’ll find another job – tomorrow. Let’s have another couple of beers.

As tomorrow became the next day and the next, my financial situation was a complete train wreck as six weeks of unemployment was about to run out. The landline phone was cut off and my internet service disconnected as the bill went unpaid. My landlord, through what I believed to be master manipulation, was waiting for three months of back rent. The electricity company was threatening shut off. Financial assistance would be given only if I paid my past due amount. In addition, I was getting five gallons of kerosene every other day at $2.75 per gallon to keep my pipes from freezing. Michael, the beer next to you is getting cold and you need another.

As I look back, the destruction taking place physically was unbelievable. The refrigerator was empty except for the booze cooling in the vegetable drawer. Several boxes of some food I had in the cabinets where invaded by vermin, now taking free rein of what was available. Occasionally,  I would ask my neighbor if he had any left overs I could eat. Don’t forget to ask or just steal a couple of cans of beer when he goes to the bathroom.

Mounds of laundry sat in heaps in the laundry room. The washer and dryer were silent fr more than a month. My thoughts included, “It’s just going to increase the electricity bill which I already can’t pay; I wasn’t going anywhere to impress anyone; I certainly didn’t “smell” dirty; or I’ll just do it tomorrow.” Ah crap, am I getting low on beer? I might have to head to the store.

I had no transportation at all. The car I did own, I sold “to pay the bills”. Instead, I drown myself in cheap beer. But it didn’t stop me from getting more when it was needed. Most of the time, I just asked the neighbor if he needed any beer. If so we’d take a trip go get some more at some place “having a deal”. But this particular time, my neighbor and I were not on speaking terms at all. I was on my own.

With two beers in my pockets and an open one in my hands, I took a hour and a half trip walking to the store four miles away down the only country road to town. Got my six pack of Milwakee’s Best, trekked another hour and a half home drinking on the way back. By the time I got home I had two or three beers left. An hour later or more I would be on my way again to make the trip back to the store and back home.

My addiction had such a death grip on me, I didn’t know what way was up or down. All I knew was I had to have something to take all the pain and turmoil away in my life. Despite the nasty taste of Milwakee’s best (I can actually taste it right now and it makes me sick), I kept going for more and more.

Drinking and getting more beer was my life; nothing else matter to me.

 

A Year Ago – A Memory

Posted November 15, 2017, from my old journal:

“Obviously, something is happening with me that I have no control over….drinking. I’ll be honest about it because that is who I have become. It is something that I have debated and struggled with for over seven or more years now. But now that I’m the Department of Social Services program, I’m finally going to get treatment. Today was a rescheduled appointment for DSS for a Drug and Alcohol Evaluation. Honestly, I thought it was just a piss test and blood work. When I walked in the office, there was a sign, “Do not go behind this door without a therapist!” Oh boy! I was extremely nervous the whole time in the waiting room. Thankfully it was just myself. As open and honest as I am with anyone, I was the same with the therapist. I had to give my whole life story. We talked about treatment programs. I told her the only way that my life would change is an inpatient program because AA meetings and outpatient programs don’t work with me. After taking extensive notes, she immediately called my social worker and asked for a referral to an inpatient program. You know what, its long overdue! I should have received treatment years ago and stuck to it. I would not be in the position I am now. Hopefully, I will be put on a straight road and my life will change because I see no alternative.”

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Present Day:

Wow! As I read the entry I can remember exactly every detail of the whole hour. I knew then an inpatient program was my only option to survive. I didn’t go in with the intention of laying all my cards on the table but I’m glad I did. While I add more details here to the entry, please do not judge my poor decisions. Today, I can say I’m grateful to be alive.

First, my two friends, who were drunk, drove me there. They were waiting in the parking lot thinking I would be a couple of minutes. We were actually on our way to Waverly, PA to buy more beer. We always drove on back roads where ever we went to avoid any ugly encounters. “Stupid as a box of rocks” doesn’t even come close.

Second, I was suffering from a bad hangover and bad hygiene. My head was spinning and pounding. The therapist said my face was red “as a tomato” in addition to my bloodshot eyes. I had really bad tremors already which added to all to my anxiety.  The therapist asked, “When was the last time you did laundry?”. She explained the long drinking can cause the alcohol to eventually come out of your sweat glands and is very distinguishable from the smell of cigarette smoke coming off clothes. She then asked, “When did you eat last?” I answered, “I don’t remember.” We hadn’t even gotten to my drinking history yet.

Lastly, when it was all over, I had to face my friends. After a yelling match with them, I said, “She wanted to send me to rehab right now. But I told her, ‘no'” Obviously, I had to lie. From that moment on until I went to bed, they were grilling me, “What did you say? You aren’t going, are you? Did you say anything about us? . . .”

Honestly, I had no idea how my future would unfold.