Towards the end, I slept on the floor because I never knew when I might piss myself while I was passed out. It happened regularly, and was just one of them things.
Every single damn day was an epic struggle between me trying to drink the way I wanted to and the loved ones around me (usually my wife for most of my drinking career) trying to steer me away from that pitiful endeavor. Me and my neighbor would kick it off at 6:30 am every Sabbath morning. I would be blitzed by noon.
I would take the kids to the park every Saturday morning for our ‘family adventures’- and don’t let me minimize that we did indeed have alot of fun on all sorts of activities- but I would be a liar if I didn’t admit that it also had the added bonus of drinking time away from nemesis #1- the wife. As the kids got older, they would report back to #1 so I became better at hiding my activities. You become shrewd at hiding beer, money, empty cans- part of the daily routine.
My dad, who had seen his own father go to the state hospital for alcoholism- that was rehab for the poor back in the day- was alarmed. He told me that I couldn’t stop when I wanted. I told him that it wasn’t that I couldn’t, it was that I didn’t WANT to. I liked drinking beer.
I eventually was drinking on the job- as a Coca-Cola delivery truck driver. The drunk Coke man was able to pull it off for awhile, but eventually I passed out in my truck and got hauled off by Freeport’s finest. Losing that job wasn’t enough- I “white-knuckled” it for a couple of weeks before congratulating myself for my self-control and slid right back in. I got another driving job with Roadway. I was on-call, which aggravated me no end. Sometimes they would call at 3pm. I tried to enact a noon policy, but my wife- who thought I needed to work and make money- vetoed that one usually.
One day they called me in at 3 and I ended up working past midnight. As I rolled into the terminal the dread thought came across my mind that it was too late to buy beer. I cursed bitterly and swore to heaven above that this would NEVER happen to me again. And it didn’t. I would buy my beer and ice it down in a cooler in the trunk before I left the terminal.
If I told you everything I did, it would probably kick in the ‘MADD’ mother instinct and anger you. Just say there was hundreds of times I had no business and one of the things I am most grateful for is that I never injured anyone on the roads or worse.
I was a pathetic alcoholic. My whole world revolved around beer. Mowing the yard was a two beer job. I needed four beers for errands. I always needed to make sure there was this many for this thing at this time, never could there be a chance of running out. It was more important than my wife, my kids, more important than God. That is the sad miserable truth.
One time, I was sleeping peacefully when something interrupted that. I realized there was someone speaking. I opened my eyes, and saw I was in the drunk tank- again- and some poor fool was over in the corner, praying for God to help him and he was sorry and wouldn’t do it no more and that sort of thing.
“What in the hell are you doing?” I demanded and mocked. “Well um, you know, praying to God and stuff” the young man replied. “You don’t need God dumbass” I said. “You need a friend or family member to come bail your ass out of here!”
Remember I said at the beginning “towards the end”? Yes, it was going to soon end. How long can a man live that drinks like that? The ‘luck’ I had unbelievably experienced could not last forever. What kind of marriage and relationships can a man have that sleeps on the floor because he pisses himself? It didn’t bother me a bit to drive around the kids or Grandma while drunk. I was in complete denial, justifying, minimizing, my drinking. I couldn’t imagine not drinking, I was addicted to alcohol and quitting was not a consideration.
There was a cemetery plot or prison cell approaching in my immediate future. I was Arthur- except I wasn’t funny or rich.
Well the God that I so cavalierly dismissed works in mysterious ways indeed. I failed a drug screen at work for marijuana and they said I couldn’t return until I completed a rehab program.
I went to an assessment, and demanded to know how long this would take. The counselor was a wonderful, experienced old ex-addict who could see right through all my bs and said we were going into the new year’s weekend, that the program wouldn’t start until the next week and I needed to go to AA in the meantime. “Get your paper signed when you go to show me” he said.
Unconvinced, I bought two beers on the way home. Why was this do- gooder making me go to AA? I failed a drug test for marijuana- not beer.
the real deal
The next night I walked into an AA meeting. Groups like AA get stereotyped and stigmatized- I know it was with great trepidation that I entered the building. As I sat there and blubbered like a baby, I heard stories of hope from people like me, who were addicted to alcohol, who explained they had found a way to not drink and be happy about it.
I went home and asked God, someone I had no use for, to help me not drink. Immediately, miraculously, the urge to drink was gone. A miracle.
Through the grace of God and the support of people like me at AA, a hopeless alcoholic was able to find recovery. My wife, God bless her-she was the one who suffered most- was resentful that a group of strangers were able to convince me to do something she had pleaded for years. But eventually she understood that they simply showed me that it COULD be done and how to do it.
I understand now that my alcoholism was a blessing. It was the only way God could reach an arrogant proud self-esteeming jerk- one who was outrageous enough to think he was as smart as God- or, at least, sure didn’t need one. Through this hopeless addiction, God showed me He could do wonderful things, and could effect miraculous change in a heart of stone. That’s what it took for me.
a real deal appeal
I never bought into the alcoholism being a disease. I always thought it was lack of character and self-will that was the problem. But I learned, it really is a disease.
If you know someone who is an alcoholic, they have a real disease and they need real help.
If you are or think you may be an alcoholic- you have a real disease and you need real help. Pray for help, give AA a chance. Please, please feel free to contact me. I have been there and I would love to share my experience, strength, and hope.
My name is Bondo, and I am a recovering alcoholic.
That’s the real deal.