Tag Archives: alcoholism

Before Recovery:  Part 7 – Dark Descent

This is the story of my terribly traumatic childhood, the teenage years of self-discovery and chaos, the onset of alcohol abuse in college, my life as a soldier, the years of drug use, the disintegration of my family, and the dark descent that landed me in jail. I wrote this portion of my story as part of a recovery exercise while I was in treatment. What it lacks in detail, it makes up for in the sheer volume of chaos that alcohol wreaked upon my life.

It was early in 2010 that I would be diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, PTSD, and Major Depressive Disorder. Disillusioned with my relationship gone badly with ______, I finally sought professional help as I was nearing the precipice of another major breakdown.

I credit that Doctor with saving my life as I was put on medication that had a remarkable effect on me for nearly 3 years. But, alas, my insurance ran out while I was in another 2 year relationship and my alcoholism returned with a vengeance at the end of 2011.

I started drinking 100 proof nips along with beer, something I had never done before, with terrible consequences. In the early part of 2012 I totaled 3 vehicles, nearly killed myself smoking crack, destroyed a pretty decent relationship and lost several jobs to the point I stopped looking for them.

Staring into the abyss at the end of 2012, I met the woman who would become my rock bottom. Although I did enter sobriety with my last girlfriend in January of 2013, it was short lived. A mere 4 months later, I learned that my step father told nobody just how sick my mother was, and she passed away in May of he had her cremated and then left the state.

It crushed me and my girlfriend and I picked up. Little did I know that she was ten times the raging alcohol that I ever was. That is not vindictive or resentful talk. That is just a plain fact. Suffice it to say that two alcoholics ignoring pain and inflicting suffering upon one another was a recipe for my eventual “true” suicide attempt in late 2014.

I say true because, to me, the previous attempts were cries for help. On the occasion of 2014 I took every one of my prescription pills so as to induce a massive overdose. My girlfriend actually encouraged it. The next day I woke up as if nothing happened. You would think I would have taken this as a sign that perhaps God had a different plan for me.

Instead, over the next 2 years, alcoholism would press its heavy boot on my neck. The girlfriend turned out to nearly be a psychopath, as she would berate me and physically and mentally torment me. On some nights it was everything I could do to keep her off of me. She would go into fits of rage over the smallest thing: I didn’t respond to a Facebook post, she saw me closing a car deal with an attractive woman, I got out of work too late.

It was endless misery. She threatened me with the police nearly every night. I suffered multiple scars, at least three knife attacks, destruction of nearly everything I owned. In February of 2016, I was the one who called the police on her heroin-addicted son, who was shooting up in the bathroom. When the police arrived, my drunk girlfriend told the police I had abused her the night before and they to me to jail.

Insanely, I returned to her home the next day. As was the usual case, she acted as everything was ‘normal.’ Now I had yet another pending domestic abuse case coming up in June. Nightly she threatened me with calling the police that would essentially violate my probation. She reigned her physical and mental venom wantonly, until finally, in April of 2016 I could take no more.

I broke out a knife and started poking myself all over, threatening to kill myself. She had called one of my car buddies, who took me to the Brockton Hospital, where I stayed for 3 days. They transferred me to the VA, where they were going to commit me. However, I convinced the psychiatrist I was not a harm to myself, and he let me go.

I immediately went home, called my friend to come help me, and I essentially escaped that woman while she worked. Well, that caused quite the shit-storm over the next month or so. She stalked me at the dealership, demanding money and for me to come home. I was hiding out in a motel, still drinking my sorrows away, but free of her.

That was until one day, when reporting to Probation–which at this point was just a routine check-in–to discover that the ex had filed a bogus 209a Restraining Order, stating that I had been stalking her and threatening her. This triggered a ‘violation’ of my probation. So, on May 12th 2016, I went to jail. Where I would only end up staying for just over 5 months. Sobriety never felt so good, never felt so bad…to be continued.

Recovery: Got Recovery?

Before Recovery:  Part 6 – Balancing Act

This is the story of my terribly traumatic childhood, the teenage years of self-discovery and chaos, the onset of alcohol abuse in college, my life as a soldier, the years of drug use, the disintegration of my family, and the dark descent that landed me in jail. I wrote this portion of my story as part of a recovery exercise while I was in treatment. What it lacks in detail, it makes up for in the sheer volume of chaos that alcohol wreaked upon my life.

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I carried the new burden of child support payments that were large and the pressure of having to be financially successful was a convenient excuse to drink and drug my way through whatever money I had left after paying my support. My partying got so bad that I was again fired from my job in 2000. The only job I could find was nearly an hour to the south. I had to take that job and moved there in the summer of 2000. I obtained an excellent position as a Finance & Insurance Manager at a large dealership in southern Mass.

Problem was “wherever you go, there you are” struck again. This time, however, I moved to crack cocaine because my nose no longer functioned because of all the drugs I had put into it. It was nearly fatal. I nearly destroyed myself for 6 months while making an insane amount of money. I will say though, I never—not once in all my years–drank or drugged while I had my visitation with my boys. I made every visitation schedule I ever had and was a better father to them away from the home than I ever was in it. It was I appearing in court over and over and over again, trying to get my ex to adhere to the visitation plan we had forged in court.

I am still proud of that to this day. I did my kids right. I loved my boys like nobody’s business, and nobody can take that away from me. In February of 2001, quite by accident, I met a woman who would help stabilize me (for the most part) for the better part of nearly 9 years. I spent 2001 to 2010 with her and I know why I was mostly stable: we both had kids the same age so I didn’t drink when they were present, I wasn’t a nightly drinker anymore, she didn’t drink, and she was the mother I never had. I’m not meaning that in any bad way, but she was truly a mother figure and I think it was somewhat stabilizing to me.

It surely helped that this woman did not drink, smoke, or do drugs whatsoever. I also had the added responsibility of helping her out with her own kids, and it seemed that this helped me with the nightmares somewhat. Being a father seemed to take the sharp edges off of my mental health symptoms.

I didn’t think this at the time, of course, but looking back on how I managed to stay stable for so long, I have come to this conclusion about why. That is not to say I did not have my difficulties. Oh no, I continued with my inability to maintain a regular job and, I had learned the truth that she had lied to me about losing my baby, I drank that sorrow away on the weekends.

Also, once the ex-wife found out about Maria, and once she had been questioned by me about our pregnancy, she escalated our divorce to outright hatred from where she stood. It had been fairly civil up to that point. She tormented our children about what we were up to, where did they get this, what have we been doing, endlessly to the point that it was tearing them apart as the years wore on.

She used the children against me whenever I would fall behind on child support. She laid into me whenever she could about how I had abandoned them, what a loser I was. I resented her tremendously for doing that in the presence of our children.

I am convinced today that she did that INTENTIONALLY, for the children began to loathe coming with me for our visitations. Sometime in late 2006 I made the horribly difficult decision to stop seeing my children so they could be raised in one household; so they would not continue to be pulled apart from living with two sets of circumstances.

They were being torn apart being raised in two. I stand behind my decision, to this day I know I did it in their best interest even though it took me from their lives and it crushed me in a way I haven’t the words for. My children have never spoken to me in 11 years.

I try not to think too hard on it, but now and again I catch myself tight roping a nightmare on the subject. And, without the children to raise, without the stability of our family unit, the woman and I eventually grew apart. I was coming unglued again, I couldn’t take another collapse. I finally had insurance through work, so I sought professional help.

Before Recovery:  Part 5 – Constant Chaos

This is the story of my terribly traumatic childhood, the teenage years of self-discovery and chaos, the onset of alcohol abuse in college, my life as a soldier, the years of drug use, the disintegration of my family, and the dark descent that landed me in jail. I wrote this portion of my story as part of a recovery exercise while I was in treatment. What it lacks in detail, it makes up for in the sheer volume of chaos that alcohol wreaked upon my life.

Matthew – Nick – 1997

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I went outside my marriage many times. It was easier to have those kinds of experiences rather than to devote anything consequential to my marriage and child. I was devoid of emotion. I was a highly functioning man with hell living in his soul. I began to collect Article 15 Discipline Reports for stupid things: For showing up late for formation. For talking back to an NCO, uniforms not up to specifications…I stayed away from my young family for entire weekends isolating and drinking and suffering. Toward the end I was a drunken mess.

As my orders came through for a deployment back to the USA, I rotated my then again pregnant wife back to the States and promptly got myself charged with an OUI in Germany. In August of 1994, after such a brilliant start, my military career was over. They started Separation Proceedings on me for “habitual misconduct;” this, just after I received my Good Conduct Medal!

I was discharged in August of 1994 with a General under Honorable Conditions. Even though it was an Honorable Discharge, it was a crushing blow that I never recovered from. My lovely second son, Matthew was born 5 days later. It didn’t matter; my life would never be the same again.

Filled with sadness and misery, resentment and depression, I spent the majority of my adult life drinking and drugging my life into ruins time and time again. From 1994, until my divorce in 1997, I drank and began doing cocaine on a nightly basis. I used to only drink on extended weekends. However, since joining the car business, my frequency ramped up in a hurry. The automotive industry was an environment full of anything you wanted, when you wanted it. I was extremely successful and worked as many hours as I could, barely present in the home. I couldn’t handle the newfound wealth. I blew most of it and still had money to pay all the bills. I acquired and lost many, many jobs during those 3 years. I alienated nearly all of my friends with my drunken babblings and blackouts.

Nick’s Holy Communion – 1998

My relationship with my wife and her family was irreparably damaged. Eventually I spiraled down to the point that I simply left my family and moved back to NH, hell-bent on regaining my footing before I completely destroyed my family. But I had already told my wife I was leaving her in the Fall of 1997, and she promptly served me with Divorce Papers. I couldn’t blame her one bit.

I was never fully present in that relationship. I didn’t know how to be. Prior to my divorce, until I started getting regular visitation, I never gave fatherhood a chance. I was too distraught and too (seemingly) bent on my self-destruction; fixated on watching my world disappear into an abyss of drinking, drugging, nightmares, and misery. It took a mere three months for me to fail; for me to alienate dealership staff.

I was fired because, though my customers liked me, dealership employees hated me. I always thought it was because I was better at my job than they were. Yeah, boy was I ever wrong. I descended into the black wormhole of my despair and self-loathing, although I had no money to drink or drug. My nightmares, flashbacks resumed with a vengeance and I had panic attacks every time I heard noises outside my door.

I blacked out all the windows in my apartment. I ate toast and drank water. I went into the worst depression I had ever known. I lay on the couch for so many days straight I had to be given morphine for a massive ear infection I contracted for being on one side for so long.

I was not drinking or drugging the entire time I was in NH; perhaps that is why I crashed, I really don’t know. During the last week of January, 1998, I purchased a gun and ammo. I threw out most of my belongings and packed up the rest. Before I decided to kill myself, on my 35th birthday January 27th, I called to say goodbye to my children and my ex-wife promptly called the police who were charging through my apartment door in what seemed like minutes. It scared me so badly I vomited and threw the gun into the kitchen. I voluntarily committed myself to the Portsmouth Pavilion Hospital in Portsmouth, N.H.

Portsmouth Pavilion

After being an inpatient at the hospital for nearly two months and getting medications that turned me into an unfeeling zombi–I left heavily medicated—I left feeling guarded optimism. I secured a new position in the car business and my drinking was curbed to almost nothing. After about 6 months I was offered a better position at the Ira Motor Group, made too many drinking and drugging friends, and quickly fell back into the pattern of being a huge success in the car business and an utter failure personally. Cocaine had contributed significantly to my depression and ever-growing paranoia and panic attacks I experienced. But under its pull, I felt invincible and took the punishments with the highs…to be continued.

Before Recovery:  Part 4 – Heavy Burdens

This is the story of my terribly traumatic childhood, the teenage years of self-discovery and chaos, the onset of alcohol abuse in college, my life as a soldier, the years of drug use, the disintegration of my family, and the dark descent that landed me in jail. I wrote this portion of my story as part of a recovery exercise while I was in treatment. What it lacks in detail, it makes up for in the sheer volume of chaos that alcohol wreaked upon my life.

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With my life apparently going nowhere—I was unable to secure a job as a teacher upon graduating from College—I thought it would be great to serve my country and see the world.  I have always been exceptionally patriotic; something my friends during those years used to think was ridiculous. I did not.  I found something to believe in when I had no faith in myself.  My first attempt at joining was in 1990.  While I awaited enlistment far from my home in Trenton, NJ.

I had tried to get a teaching job that had forced my relocation from New Hampshire, and had gotten fired because I lapsed on my car loan and couldn’t transport one of the directors around–I tried to bury my depression, nightmares, loneliness, and self-loathing in a constant haze of booze and then, for the first time, cocaine.  I was told I was denied entry due to acne, but I know my enlistment officer knew I was getting high as I lived with him at the time.

Devastated by the Army’s rejection, I took my enlistment officer’s .357 and put it to my head and was going to kill myself; however, of all things, I let the fact that his kitten was looking at me freeze me in my tracks:  I didn’t like the idea of doing that to the animal.  I managed to save my money from waiting on tables for the mob (who paid quite well) and from selling shoes.  I saved enough to get myself to Massachusetts, where my two closest friends resided.

I managed to stay gainfully employed as a cook at the Mug N’ Muffin, my best friends family chain of restaurants, for nearly a year when the Persian Gulf War erupted;  it was then that I decided I would try to enlist again.  It was around that time that I met my future wife.  Exactly the same day I told her I was enlisting in the Army, in February of 1991, she informed me she was pregnant.  I decided for once that it just wouldn’t be right to leave her hanging with this baby by herself, that I would grow up and take responsibility and try to somehow make it work.

Though Basic Training was tough for me—I was 27 surrounded by much younger kids able to adapt more quickly than me—I was enthralled to be serving my country.  I think that experience somehow forced my hand by having me prematurely propose to my girlfriend on the phone during Basic Training, knowing full well my gut was telling me NO! I would have to hide in the latrine and cry and wretch as my nightmares threatened to collapse my sanity. But I gutted it out. I made it through Basic and completed my Advanced Individual Training in the top 2% of my class.

I married days after graduation.  In that dark and dreary church, with two friends, I knew I was making a terrible mistake.  But, true to form, I simply was incapable of thinking for myself and did it anyway.  I was assigned to Augsburg Germany as a Records Specialist straight out of AIT.  I loved being able to serve my country but I was very unhappy about being assigned to a country that committed the atrocities that it did. 

Before my spouse was allowed to come over, I had to make preparations and finish entering my duty station.  So I went to Germany and was alone from August of 1991 until early October.  Then the worst thing possible happened: my phone woke me up in the dead of night; my wife was screaming into the phone that she had lost our baby; that she had a miscarriage.  I will never forget what sounded to me like my mind literally tearing.  I will never forget telling God that night that I hated his f*&$-ing guts. 

A few years after I exited the Army, and only after many hours and hard drinking, the friend who had driven to South Carolina to be in my “wedding” years later, finally managed to convince me that my ex-wife had made up the story that she was pregnant.  After all, where was the body of my 8 month old dead child?  At what hospital did she have this miscarriage?  How did it all go down? 

After investigating those and other questions through hospital channels in and around Milton, Ma., I discovered the disgusting truth—though she never discussed it or would admit it—it was an impossibility that she “lost” our baby.  It took me a long, long time to forgive her for that.  I knew I had to if I was going to be, and stay, truly recovered.  I hadn’t given it much thought then.  But at the time of our marriage I did wonder why she didn’t show at all in August.  I did wonder at her seemingly calm demeanor through it all, when I was a hot mess.  Anyway, it must have creeped into my unconscious as our relationship eventually unraveled in time over in Germany.

I barely managed to keep things together with such back to back terrible incidents in my early military career.  I excelled at everything military and I quickly racked up military accolades and received a merit promotion with less than two years of service, even passing the Officer Candidate School Exam after two tries. 

However, Rob1, carrying heavy burdens from his youth and the sudden loss of his child, was slowly festering with a deep, unending sadness and depression. My highs and lows got higher and lower. I was slowly beginning to drink more heavily, retreated further into myself and withdrew from my ex who by then was pregnant again. I welcomed opportunities to get extra duty so I didn’t have to manage emotions, just manage the undemanding work of guard duty. Even the birth of my beautiful son Nicholas couldn’t save me…to be continued.

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