Wretchedly Wide Awake


The day I sought professional help once more, an unrelenting and regrettable stillness had long since taken hostage of my home; an overwhelming counterfeit calm I’d graciously exchange for a turn in any torture chamber; endure being tarred and feathered if it warranted another chance to make things right – it’s too late now. I lay, beaten and broken, in a home devoid of the thriving lives enjoying cartoons and littering scrambled eggs or cereal on the floor below.  I’m indefinitely stuck in this self-induced haze, unaccepting of my new reality; continually convincing myself I am trapped in a nightmare that I’m going to wake up from – deep down I know I’m not asleep, but wide awake. 

Morning sunlight filters through the drapes of my kitchen resulting in a deep, blood red ambiance; a dark and hellish vibe in an already desolate atmosphere – the type of environment that gives me an off-kilter sense of comfort; a life cast down into fire and brimstone seems an appropriate justice, so I keep it that way.  It’s apparent I’ve exercised poor judgement as I regain consciousness on the floor, sprawled out next to a graveyard of empty whiskey bottles and the refrigerator door half open; my style for the morning comprised of one sock and boxers, which I was still wearing for the most part.  In reality, judgement really isn’t a factor anymore – I have lost the power of choice when it comes to the drink; indisputably incapable of rising against its every beckoning whisper; fully aware this won’t end without eternally sleeping six feet under or encountering some type of intervention, divine or otherwise.

I gaze up from where I lay –  this frigid, flinty bed of disgrace and defeat; every bit of the throbbing that courses through my skull is verifiably in sync with each beat of my heart.  Hovering above, tiny particles of dust and debris prominently masquerade through the air creating a counterproductive cloak with no implications of supplying solace to my shriveling soul.  My attention is quickly drawn to an amber glow illuminating from atop the kitchen table; old no. 7, that Tennessee sour mash which intends to exterminate my very existence and provide affable accommodations along the way.  Its sleek black label and white lettering might as well be my personal welcome sign to heaven; a hidden watering-hole in the desert of my life.  The bottle towers above me from my position on the floor, preaching its mastery; proudly proclaiming another victory and how it has again managed to relinquish me of the things and people I love most; reminding me it still possesses my total and true allegiance.


Propping myself up against the cabinets, I try to shake off the familiar dizziness my body is working through.  I’m trembling from withdrawal; trying to swallow is excruciating, and breathing has become a chore.  I know the antidote to my suffering – it notably rests in all its glory on that table across the room; the quest to get up there appears more daunting than reaching the summit of Everest – its payoff, however, critically crucial to my incapacitated condition, but more importantly to avoid seizing up right here on my kitchen floor with no means of assistance.  I prepare my mind for the task at hand and army crawl my way towards the table; a humiliating scene even with nobody around to witness it, but I stay the course because the end result is far more important than how I reach it.

I can practically feel the burn in my throat and the shiver of that mystical firewater streaking through my veins; it sends chills down my spine.  I use every ounce of energy to pull myself even with the table top and greet my conqueror face to face in an early morning standoff; a dual always featuring a predetermined winner and the championship belt I have only dreamed of wearing – at least it would serve a better fashion sense than just one sock and my boxers – maybe.  For the first time in my romance with whiskey, I’m conflicted inside; a genuine and authentic internal debate as we gaze into each other.  I don’t want to drink it.  I’m tired of being owned.  I’m sick of the struggle and the pain and the loss, but I have to give in or the withdrawal could kill me – its seriously at that level now – I require medical detoxification or the prolonging of this bender; those are the only remaining options and today, I’ll do both.


Needles and Pins,

Needles and Pins,

Sew me a sail,

To catch me the wind, 

Sew me a sail,

Strong as the gale,

Carpenter, bring out,

Your hammer and nails,


Hammer and nails,

Hammer and nails,

Build me a boat,

To go chasing the whales,


Chasing the whales,

Sailing the blue,

Find me a captain,

And sign me a crew,


Captain and crew,

Captain and crew,

Take me, oh take me,

To anywhere new.

-Shel Silverstein



Several days later, after enduring the brutal process of ridding my system and sweating out the demons inside me, I was flying the steel bird destined for Los Angeles; which is subsequently where the “captain and crew” decided my “anywhere new” was to be – a ninety-day treatment program in Orange County, three-thousand miles from everything I know.  It was finally time to face my problems head on and start picking up the pieces of a life shattered by lies, deceit, manipulation, and above all else, the terminal throws of addiction and its insidious embodiment.  One, two, three…go.

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