Tuesday, May 22, 2007


My friend Mick was just released from prison. I've known Mick for 15 years and about two years ago he went nuts, got drunk, went on a multi-state run of crazy behavior which included exposing himself to his wife's employer (who had mistreated Debra in Mick's mind) and peeing on her shoes, thus the sexual battery charges. He's out and I'm hoping he can stay sober.

Curtis is still locked up, my friend who went mad on crack after a couple of years of sobriety. The Board of Education did not approve and he lost his teaching job, wife, kid. He went nuts and barricaded himself in a motel room, ended up surrounded by cops and SWAT, TV cameras. He made a swan dive over the railing onto a parked car before he was dragged off in handcuffs.

Geo's dad died, and he divorced, both events triggering (or giving him an excuse for) a flat out hell for leather drunk which resulted in his arrest for assault. Geoff's the sweetest guy when he's sober. I met him as he was completing his master's and starting his own business. He's funny enough to do standup for a living.

These are three of my favorite men, sweethearts every one of them. Add some dope, some alcohol, and they are transformed into the kind of guys I read about in the paper, who show up on COPS or the evening news. Do you know any people like this? Folks you love to pieces who just can't get it together?

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Blogger Dennis said...

Oh God yes. You can't be in recovery for long without meeting a few of these folks. The man I credit with introducing me to the structured AA, working the Steps and getting a sponsor just cannot seem to stay sober anymore. He's constantly running afoul with the law but so far has managed to avoid prison. I pray for him daily.

May 22, 2007 9:54 AM  
Blogger Debra said...

Yes, as you know, my brother died last year of an overdose of narcotics and alcohol. At the time of his death, he had more than a dozen lawsuits pending against him, an arrest warrant for a DUI, he was unemployed and unemployable, had maxed out the financing on his home, had been ejected from several social support groups for drinking and drugging, was sharing his home with two other addicts/dealers and was just about a year away from being homeless. Before all that happened, he was a handsome, talented artist, underwater photography expert, free diver and snow boarder who owned his own construction company. I cannot get over the waste and destruction caused by drugs and alcohol. Is there anyone's life they haven't reached out and smashed up a little bit (or a lot)?

May 22, 2007 9:58 AM  
Anonymous lynette said...

isn't that heartbreaking, dennis? i remember a man from early in my sobriety who was absolutely on fire with spirituality. he knew the book inside and out. i lost touch as i moved out into other groups, but he was a driving force in my getting sober. about 10 years after i last saw him, i caught the evening news and there was another SWAT story all about mike. he'd gone crazy with a baseball bat, terrorizing his neighbors, just insane with drinking. so sad.

May 22, 2007 9:58 AM  
Anonymous lynette said...

debra, i don't think so. i can't think of a single person who's not been touched by the destruction of addiction. sometimes i think it's because of the circles i run in (drunks, addicts), but i know no one who's escaped this.

May 22, 2007 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Tater said...

But for the grace of god... Yes, I know a handful just like them, and pray I don't fall back into that hell again. I have watched it destroy careers, families, and end in prison and/or death. I know a man (who shared my original sponser) who went back out. He got smashed, then killed a young mother of three kids behind the wheel of his car. He was perfectly fine, the state police found him walking down the highway laughing at his accident. He didn't even know he had killed someone until he was sitting in the squad. I don't know why I have been able to shut my brain off of the cravings for drugs and booze, when others haven't been able to. I just know that I am grateful today.

May 22, 2007 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Joe / Kusala said...

Do I KNOW any people like this? I look at one in the mirror every day (hard to believe with this sweet, meek, exterior, right?). Luckily, I've (mostly) pulled myself together before it all got really ugly (oh, it was ugly enough). This may sound weird, but I somehow think it's a HUGE GIFT to see that scary potential -- and that's one of the reasons I so enjoy your writings on sobriety/recovery.

Like they say, "the ends are always the same: jails, institutions, and death...".

Scary shit, but miracles are possible. Continue to say whatever prayers work for all of you.

May 22, 2007 11:43 AM  
Blogger David said...

I feel kinda shitty commenting here, and I'm sure it comes as no surprise, but I don't know anyone like this. I have a friend who gets drunk a lot, but he just gets drunk, never gets into trouble. We still worry about him.

May 22, 2007 12:26 PM  
Blogger Carol Bardelli said...

If somebody doesn't know someone like that they probably live in a cave. My family is sprinkled with drinkers, drug addicts, shopaholics, and overeaters. (I come from a big family, my Dad had 14 siblings and 4 half brothers. I had 88 cousins on one side of my family alone). My husband says everybody is addicted to something. God help the ones who go over the deep end.

May 22, 2007 12:34 PM  
Anonymous lynette said...

me too, tater. grateful.

joe, after 24 years, it's hard to recall exactly how crazy i was. it's a matter of public record in texas ;-) but i haven't been back there in years. i think life's especially sweet when we survive disaster. and miracles are possible.

david, you are my role model, honey. when i think to myself "what would a normal person do," i think of you. i have to have some kid of outer reference points, but nothing normal arises from within me :-) (but i'm still lots of fun)

carol, my family's the same way. i know there are normal families out there, i just dont' know any. but they're great people and i love them to death. really fine, productive citizens in most cases. just born with this thing, this drive, urge, whatever it is.

May 22, 2007 12:38 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

I have a close relative who went to jail for beating the crap out his girlfriend. I'd known him all my life and hardly ever seen him raise his voice or get angry. Turns out he's drunk or high on crack cocaine when he gets violent. *sigh*

May 22, 2007 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Travis said...

My sponsor went back out for one weekend, got raped by four men and almost killed a couple of years ago.

I just celebrated my 4 year sobriety birthday, and since that last binge, I've always said that if I went back out, I wouldn't survive. My sponsor's experiences rammed that particular notion home.

The passage in the Big Book about "death and insanity" helps keep me on the not acting out side of things on those rare days when nothing else does.

I'm grateful that I have a daily reprieve, and I pray for people who just can't seem to get it together.


May 22, 2007 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Joe / Kusala said...

This is a really awesome and affirming comment thread, by the way. Thanks for prompting it. Sometimes it's the reminders like these that are divinely sent.

May 22, 2007 4:18 PM  
Blogger lisalgreer said...

Oh, Lordy, Lynette. I wasn't locked up, but sometimes I felt soooo nuts just by the time I'd hit bottom with eating loads of sugar that I probably should have been just 8 months ago before I started recovery! I was a rage-a-holic and general emotional whirling dervish. I hate addiction, but I love the potential that addicts have. We can be some of the funniest, most intuitive, smartest folks around. We just have to commit to recovery; in my case, that's doing the food. I pray every day now for addicts as I finally see myself as one. There but for the grace of God go I.


May 23, 2007 12:55 AM  
Anonymous ewe said...

This was so comical the way you introduced this piece. It was like a freakin I love lucy scene. I am still laughing. I can tell how nice these guys might be when sober and so flippin out of it when not. What a special way to bring the issue of drug and alcohol addiction and destruction to the attention of people. Wonderful.

June 02, 2007 2:54 PM  

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