I’ve already written about how everything in my world kind of came crashing down at the same time (divorce finalized, laid off from work, suddenly faced without a place to live) and that at that time I realized that I needed to relocate in order to find work and fulfill my financial obligations among other things. This was at the height of the recession and there were NO jobs to be found anytime soon that would meet those obligations with my background (sales) in the Portland, ME area.
I somehow still had enough presence of mind to figure out that my chances were much better in the metro NY area where I had grown up and lived most of my life. I did a kind of cost/benefit analysis of uprooting and moving back down there. I’ll start with minus side as to why I didn’t want to do it.
1-My children- Even though at this point they wanted pretty much nothing to do with me, they were still my babies (19,15,12-hardly babies but you know) and they meant EVERYTHING to me even though through my own dependency I completely alienated them from me.
2-Change is hard and even harder for people with dependency issues. It meant facing ALL of it and doing something about it. Staying drunk, miserable and in a wall of isolation certainly had its appeal at that
3-I loved the area. I had been living there for 13 years and it was home.
4-It would mean that for a few months at the very least, I would be moving into my mom’s basement until I found work and a place to live.
Now on the plus side as to why it made ALL the sense in the world to do it.
1-I made the first of what would be many important decisions regarding my life. I decided that I wasn’t ready to die yet; that even though my actions hadn’t proven it, I was NOT a bad person. I decided that I deserved a shot at life and that there was a possibility that I could still figure it out.
2-My children- I knew that the way I presently was, that I was no good to them in any way. In order to somehow regain any semblance of a relationship with them in the future, I would have to prove to them that I could get my act together and it wasn’t likely to happen under the current circumstances and that those circumstances were only going to get worse before they got better if I didn’t do something drastic.
3-Work-As I mentioned, even though the whole country was in a deep recession, my chances were much better in the financial center of the universe known as NY than they were in Portland, ME.
4-I had a rent-free place to stay for a few months until I found work and a place to live.
5-If I didn’t do it, I would have slid into despair so deep, I probably would NOT have come out of it. I saw my immediate future sitting in a sleazy motel room somewhere on Rt. 1 with a bottomless gallon of vodka until I just didn’t wake up one morning.
So I packed my car with my meager possessions, my cat, Nala, and of course…….a quart of vodka. I made the decision that I was done with the booze but that it would happen tomorrow or the next day. Today was not the day. My heart was heavy and sick with the thought that I was leaving everything that I knew behind, particularly my kids. I knew I had to do it to save my life but that didn’t make it any easier. So I attempted to find my children to say goodbye and needless to say, that didn’t go well. What did I expect? So, I started the 5 1/2/ hour drive already half in the bag and crying. What fun!!!!
Somehow I made it down to Long Island without killing anybody, slipped into my mom’s house while she was out for the night, and crashed hard. The next morning (July 3rd) I woke up and decided that Independence Day would be the day I had my last drink. I would have done it that day but I knew that going from a quart of vodka a day to nothing, cold turkey, could be disastrous and I had heard, even fatal. So the plan was to drink half of that on the 3rd and then less than that on the 4thand then be done with it.
That was the plan and I stuck to it. As the fireworks came to their rousing conclusion in the waters of Oyster Bay, I raised my Dewar’s on the rocks to my mouth and said to anybody and everybody who was standing near me; “Cheers, we’re done here”.; and so I was.
Looking back, I should have tapered down more slowly because the next week was Hell as far as suffering from detox/withdrawal symptoms.
So what did I do next? Starting on July 5th I immediately updated my resume and started scouring Monster and CareerBuilder and started applying for jobs. I went to Barnes and Noble and bought “a starter kit” of books about psychology, addiction, philosophy, etc…. I was determined to learn some truths about the world that had apparently eluded me for almost 49 years. I actually decided to go to an AA meeting for 2 reasons. First, as I do give them credit for, it is a place where you can be with other non-drinking people. Being that I really didn’t know anybody in town and the fact that I knew I couldn’t isolate again, I went for that purpose but I knew right away that I just couldn't stomach it. The 2nd reason was that I had gone to some meetings in town 2 years earlier when my Ex-wife and I had a 2 month trial separation. I wanted to see how many people I recognized. I knew AA was NOT for me but I wanted to really study it and figure out WHY. Sure enough, most of the people from that time were gone but the handful of LOUD and OVERBEARING “old timers” were still there. The idea of “The Freedom to Recover” was born but put on the backburner for the time being. As soon as I was up for it (just a few days), I started exercising a LOT.
To be continued
Have a great day all!