This wasn’t going to go as planned. It never does. My wife got the surgery in the spring of 2012. By 2014, we had settled her injury with the insurance company and received a modest settlement. Not retirement money, but enough to get back on our feet in a new adventure. We picked Colorado and moved in late March.
Things were good. If we wanted something, we got it. My son got settled into school and I found work with a landscaping crew. That summer, my neighbor introduced me to my dream job. I had done construction as a paying job all my life. I was going to get the chance to build custom homes in ski country. I felt like it was finally gaining some ground in life. However the stressors of my new job would wear thin on me over the next year. The constant pressure from clients and my overbearing employer caused me to drink more. This started my blackouts.
Alcohol consumption at 10,000 feet basically hits you with a 1 to 3 ratio. Every one drink at elevation is like 3 at sea level. In a nutshell, I was drinking an average of a six pack and a pint of booze every day and not remembering much of it. I was functioning, but barely. The stress of the job, and my intensified alcohol abuse, caused me to have a nervous breakdown the first part of January 2016. I received two weeks severance pay and was let go from the construction job. I found work growing cannabis for a dispensary. But again, my addictions and mental health would rear its ugly head that summer.
I didn’t even make it out of the parking lot. No bullshit. I was so drunk I smacked my front bumper into the car next to me and as I backed up someone’s pintle hitch was about 2 feet off the ground on this rig and it hit the rear hatch so hard it shattered my window. That was the first time I’d ever been in trouble. Not even a speeding ticket. Jail sucks. Getting a DUI sucked. The journey I was about to go on at the request of the Colorado Judicial system would give me insight on how to better my overall mental health and also allow me to see how destructive my drinking was starting to become.
I stayed sober for almost 6 months while on probation. Then I fell off the wagon for a Metallica show in Denver. I failed my urinalysis test that week and was put on a SCRAM bracelet. Again I remained sober for two months. The moment the bracelet came off I would go to the liquor store. All the probationers did. You’d see the same people at pee tests and the store. I didn’t have to ever go in. My wife, my enabler, would go in for me.
She had her own issues. Probably how we gravitated to each other. She was abused and buried it, started drinking young, had a child young, met me young, got injured young. She really tried to do everything to help me. Except provide a sober living environment. By the time I left the cannabis grow I was a full blown drunk. I functioned. But I had to drink daily and it was starting earlier each day. I remember my wife asking me NOT to drink when I got up at 7am. My drinking ruined our relationship. The lack of support to keep me sober wasn’t there because she too had her own issues with alcohol and my step son was now of age. So it made it ok to drink with her son and exclude me because I was trying to stay sober. This made me bitter and made me drink more. This lasted from mid 2018 till New Years Eve 2019. Up and down on the drunk roller coaster of blackouts, fights, apologies and fear for a year and a half. Working for ourselves made it easy to drink while we worked. The end was near. But during this time, I found a part of me I didn’t know I was missing. A part of me that will aide in my recovery and give me a healthy coping mechanism. This part will result in a lifestyle change that puts mindfulness and practice as key skills to achieve consistent success. The arrow and the bow shall be my tools to begin the hard fight against my demons.
For the arrow to fly, it must first be held back.