Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Angels I Don't See

If someone told me, when I got out of detox just over two weeks ago, that my life would be where it is right now at this moment, I would have elected to stay in detox. I have written at length about my stay in detox here, here and here. And I plan on writing more soon. But tonight I want to let those of you who follow this blog know what is going on. I want you to know the truth. I want to be set free.

My partner of over seven years, Ric, has been sick for some time. Last April we began to notice that something seemed off. We could not quite articulate what exactly was askew and for a while we chalked it up to work related stress. However as time went on, we knew we were dealing with a medical problem, though we did not know what it was.

I wrote about my anguish here. Over the summer, after countless visits to specialists, Ric seemed to be getting better. Though we did not have any answers as to his condition, I eventually quit accompanying him to doctor appointments. With each day that passed his condition seemed to miraculously improve and by the end of the summer, and a bronchoscopy that showed that a mass on his lung was benign, I was convinced that he was going to lick his phantom foe.

But two months ago, the bĂȘte noire was back with breath taking ferocity. His old symptoms returned and new ones appeared, including bizarre behavior. I did not know how to handle it. He was lying all the time, not going to work, avoiding financial responsibility, angry, depressed. Before my eyes, my husband transformed into a stranger, a child and a recluse, all in one.

It was evident that the elusive illness was bigger than I imagined. Repeatedly I encouraged him to go back to the doctors so they could start testing him again. Repeatedly he refused. Baffled, I poured my entire being into trying to make him better. I was determined, despite his resistance, to walk with Ric through whatever it was.

In doing so, I neglected the work necessary to maintain my sobriety. I foolishly believed my battle with the bottle was a thing of the past. The obsession with alcohol had been lifted…or so I thought.

The day after Thanksgiving, at my wits end, I checked into a hotel room with a bottle of scotch and promptly poured my drink. And then I checked out.

PART II of Angels I Don’t See here

Psst, the clue is in the title

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Deet to the Ox PART III

Part I here and Part II here

Hallucinations are fascinating. In all my years of drinking and all my attempts at sobriety I had never, until that moment, experienced them. In fact, in an odd way, I feared them. But I came to realize that they were quite comforting. I mean, John Lennon singing George Michael is not a terrible way to spend an afternoon, no matter how batshit crazy it might be. If you’re going to lose your mind, it might as well be tripping to some enjoyable tunes.

A detox, for those not in the know, is a place where people go to safely detoxify their bodies of alcohol and/or drugs. The legal substance, alcohol, is, ironically, the most dangerous to detox from. Though detoxing from other drugs makes you feel as though you are dying, detoxing from alcohol can actually kill you. Any number of things can happen and given the fact that I was hallucinating I began to worry that other variables such as seizures or aneurysms might be next.

“You got a girl, Jon?”

“No Jack”

Please shut up, please shut up!

“Aw, that’s your problem, Jon. You need a girl. I got me a girl back home in Trenton and she is one fine woman. Plus I get laid whenever I want!”

Oh God! Please shut up! Where did John and George go? Shit! They left! It’s just Jack and me.

“Well I don’t have a girl, Jack”

And the thought of you getting laid all you want is making me nauseas once again so shut the hell up!

“You mean to tell me with all those fine women in New York, you can’t find just one”.

No, what I mean to tell you Jack is that if I have to hear you talk one more second I may take one of those thousands of colored pencils you have and jam it into my neck. SHUT UP!

“I’m not much interested in finding a girl, Jack”

“Shit! I figured it out. You’re a…a….”

Don’t say it, Jack! Whatever you are thinking, keep it to yourself.

“You’re a playa! You play all those girls in the city. I bet you get laid by a different girl every night. Aw, man! Hey Paulie, Jon’s a playa!”

Never mind that Paul was no where nearby. I learned quickly that Jack could have a conversation with someone whether they were there or not.

“Actually, Jack, I’m gay. I don’t have a girl because I don’t want a girl. And with all due respect I would ask that you leave me alone for a while”

“You’re gay? Hey Paulie, Jon’s gay! How do you know you’re gay?”

“Cause that’s what my blood work said Jack. The doctor said I was type O with a trace of gay! How the hell do you think I know, Jack? The same way you know you’re straight. YOU JUST KNOW”

“Whoa, calm down there Princess. It was just a question”

“No, ‘where are you from?’ is just a question. ‘How do you know you’re gay’ is an idiotic, moronic question. Even for a guy from Trenton”

“You got a problem with Trenton, Mr. New York City? Cause I’ll tell you somethin’, that city’s a pain in the ass”

“No, what’s a pain in the ass is that I got stuck with a roommate that won’t shut up. That’s the pain in the ass! Please just be quiet for the rest of the night and we can resume this conversation in the morning”

“Whatever you say, boss”

“Thanks Jack”

"So, Jon. You like been with guys and shit?”


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Deet to the Ox PART II

PART I can be found here

“Paulie”, my other roommate, was more reserved. He was the yang to Jack’s yin. He was serious about sobriety and his earnestness permeated his every thought. Paul meant business and from the moment I arrived it was evident that Paul resented Jack for Jack’s lack of focus.

I managed to greet both Jack and Paul sans vomit. However, my temporary cease-fire-from-mouth didn’t last long. After I left my belongings on my bed I was escorted to the nurses’ station where I promptly threw up all over the floor.

The nurse assessing my condition scrambled to find a container sufficient for my discharge. I found this perplexing. It seemed to me that detoxing lent itself to throwing up and the nurses’ station should have been stocked with vomit buckets. But, to paraphrase my father, "Wish in one hand, vomit it the other. See which one fills up first".

Buckets aside, my nurse was angelic. She played the role of doctor, psychiatrist and older sister all in one. She listened as I wept over my partner's health, gave me meds to prevent seizures and reassured me, over and over again, that everything would be ok. She was also determined to stop the throwing up.

After escorting me back to my room, Stephanie instructed me to once again drop trou. After making a comment that I had no fat on my ass in which to stick the needle, she apparently found sufficient flab and stabbed. I cannot recall ever having a shot in the bum prior, but given the pain it seems like something I would never forget.

The shot was intended to lessen the nausea which, in theory, would staunch the vomiting. In theory.

The vomiting did not stop for six more hours and three more butt pokes. And my roommate Jack did not help matters. Every other minute he was in our room, either yelling about something or slamming doors. Though he showed concern for my condition, his concern was overshadowed by his hyper activity. It was not possible for Jack to stay still, a fact that would manifest itself repeatedly over the following few days.

Finally at around six that evening the nausea and vomiting ended. But just as those two things stopped, the hallucinations started. On the wallpaper in my room I saw winsome tableaus of Christmases long, long ago. Also, John Lennon was singing George Michael's "Freedom" in the sprinkler above my bed.

Part III here

Friday, December 19, 2008

Deet to the Ox


Two pairs of socks. Two pairs of underwear. Two t-shirts. That was it. All in a plastic bag. A Target plastic bag to be exact. I stood outside in the bitter cold and waited for my ride. Oh, and I said a prayer. “God, this is the end of the road. If this does not work, just go ahead and take me to my rest.”

The ride was relatively uneventful. Along the Jersey Turnpike I knew there was no turning back. I tried to make small talk with the two friends in the car but I was too distracted with what was about to happen to remember anything they might have said. Also, I was nauseas. I mean, do-you-mind-if-I throw-up-all-over-your-back-seat-for-a-while kind of nauseas.

Princeton, New Jersey may very well be the most idyllic town in all of the United States. It is, without a doubt, a Rockwell painting come to life. Students buzzing around campus, couples strolling along the historic streets, horse drawn carriages, snow kissed lawns. And the school is simply stunning. Amplified Americana.

But I was not there to see the campus or shop or take in the architecture. I was there for only one reason – to stop the pain.

We arrived at the compound and as I got out of the car I began to throw-up. My friends took me inside, the admissions nurse took my vitals, I put on a green wristband with my stats on them and, with my plastic bag in tow, the nurse and I began to walk.

I immediately noticed that every door was open with a magnetic key card. The admission nurse had one. I did not. And with every door that clicked shut behind us I understood I was traveling further and further into lockdown. Freedom was no longer mine.

Remove all your clothes, turn your socks inside out, give me your belt and shoe laces, hand me your bag and don’t make any sudden moves, he said. It was like being directed in really bad porn.

I’m gonna throw-up.

Breathe through your mouth.

No, really, I’m gonna throw-up! Is there something I can throw-up in?

You can throw-up after we are done.

Clearly, the concept of throwing-up was lost on this man.

As I stood there naked, with my inside out socks on the chair and my dignity scattered along the Jersey Turnpike, I wondered, once again, how in the world I got into such a situation. I was a broken, shoelace-less man, about to throw-up, embarrassed by the coldness of the room, if you catch my drift. This was not a part of the movie that was to be my life.

“Wing Three”, as it was called, was set up like a 70’s motel. Rooms consisted of two to three beds, three dressers, a closet and a bathroom. The lights, fluorescent, were so bright that the blind could have found their way around without assistance.

I walked into room 315 and noticed that two out of the three beds were in use. The third bed –mine – was bare. And about five feet long. I’m 6’6.

“Hey Paulie! We got a new roommate”

Jack was…how do I write this delicately?

Jack was about as subtle as a Texas blizzard in June. He had at least twenty tattoos, including one that was hammer on his forehead. He was also a barterer.

Jack had everything. Shave cream, even though it was not allowed in rooms. Razors for shaving even though they were not allowed. Dozens of colored pencils and markers, papers, magazines, books. You name it, Jack had it. All these things made me wonder how long Jack had been there and why in God’s name did he need it all.

Turns out, Jack had been there for quite a while. Even though a standard stay was a week, Jack had been there for three.

Part II here

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Can you imagine...

George W. Bush picking John McCain as Secretary of Defense?

What we are seeing now is perhaps the most brilliant selection of a White House team in our history.

This must really hurt the people of the wild, otherwise known as Republicans. To watch a man with such a head on his shoulders after having to take credit for Bush must be painful.

But Republicans, know this. If it were not for Bush, Obama would never have been president. And that's the truth. Your man is responsible more than anyone else for President Obama!

And I thank you! And millions of Americans thank you. You did not hold your president to account and we got Obama!!!!!!!

Let's take away the "Christians" rights and see how tolerent they are

Let's actually take away their rights. I mean they moan all the f'in time that their rights are being taken away so let's take them away.

Ok, Christians, here is a question for you. What rights of yours have been taken away? Put up or shut up!

Focus jumps the shark

Are you fucking kidding me?

This feigned outrage is such a joke. Whose rights were taken away on November 4th? Was it the “Christians” or was it the gays?

I hope Focus on the Family, who is stoking this the-tolerant-gays-are-not-tolerant, are forced to lay off thousands more people.

I honestly think they may have jumped the shark at this point. Ha Lay Lou Ya
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