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Monday, August 25, 2008

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa...

I didn't exactly ease into a spiraling descent. More like hard right rudder, stick to the firewall, and nosedive into oblivion. The blackouts were coming fast and furious, but not black enough or long enough to erase the guilt and shame.

I came to one night observing a snoring lump in bed beside me. Not entirely unusual but I couldn't remember anything up till then. As I was weaving toward the bathroom my brain registered something propped against the bedside table. Still very foggy, it took awhile to come into focus in the ambient light thrown across the room. The light speared the object at a jagged angle from the bathroom doorway.

Oh, Dear God. It was a wooden leg. Leather straps and all.

It was then I could make out the top of the head in bed. Grey hair. Very, grey hair. Okay...that woke me up.( I dressed as quickly and as silently as possible, which was increasingly difficult to do while dry heaving.)

I made my way to the bar and let myself in, locking the door behind me. A half hour of power drinking calmed the nerves. Then I heard the clop. To be more exact, the clop, drag,sound of a one legged, older Indian woman, coming down the stairs, past the bar. ) I felt like the narrator in Poe's the 'Tell-Tale Heart,' except my madness was inspired by the damned clop, drag, clop, drag, as she searched for her vacant paramour. Not a proud moment but noteworthy in hitting bottom...

That little episode was instrumental in me drinking myself out of a job. (This in a town where drinking is a way of life, not just a hobby.) None of the other bars would touch me, so I applied for food stamps. A friend was letting me sleep on his floor in a used sleeping bag, and he told me later, he was waiting to find me dead in the bag one morning. Sorry to disappoint.

I eventually found a job washing dishes in a waterfront cafe. How sober do you need to be to do that, I thought?

The Southeastern part of Alaska is famous for sudden, blackout inspiring (no pun intended) storms in the spring. As I was failing to hold it together for an entire eight hour shift without a little 'medicine', I took advantage of the power outages.

Whenever the power would go out, the restaurant would cease all activity until the lights came back on. In the dark I would ease into the walk-in cooler across form the steamy Hobart and pound down as many beers as I could before the lights came on. It also occurred to me I needed to hide the results of my activity without taking the empties from the cooler. In a wave of brilliance I decided to shove the empty, brown bottles down the gullets of several large, semi-frozen, whole halibut we kept in the cooler. Genius, I thought.

That was fine until the manager needed a fish. Picking it up by the tail, a case of empty Ranier bottles were vomited across the kitchen. He looked at the bottles. He looked at the fish. He looked at me. I took off my apron and walked out.

That night I threw up on two lesbians at a party in my friends apartment. Even he had his limits.

I moved into a large box under the pier. Now this was living...


Anonymous said...

The account of the one legged woman is hilarious. Talk about a nightmare! I think the beer stashed in the fish was pretty ingenious, until it was discovered, anyway. :)

Geoffrey Hill said...

Why thank you...I'm nothing if not fast on my feet. LoL.

My new disclaimer...yeah I know.

Okay, the old disclaimer was tired. The ideas were outdated and keeping me stuck in a place I don't want to be now for something more refreshing.

I have recently changed my views regarding women. Seems I had some issues with the fairer sex due to past pain and self- centered fear. (Yes...duh applies.)

I'm done with that.

Being in recovery has helped me change my entire life, perceptions and attitudes. I cannot change my history but I can change my today and my future.

I recently realized that the women I know in recovery are some of the strongest, bravest, most gentle and kind teachers I have ever had. You exemplify integrity and spiritual growth, and I hope you know who you are.

Some may know of my past marital and relationship history and been a participant in them as well. It's past and that's where it the past.

I own my part in those failures but claim no more responsibility in any misery you may be experiencing. I am sorry, but it's time to get off the cross. We need the wood.

Thank you all...