Eight Days Clean

    I’m about to fly back to New York.  I’ve cleaned up as much of the wreckage as I could long-distance, but it’s time to go back and do the rest in person.  

     My mind is working all right again and my energy levels are up, and I suppose that I could start to write about the ten days of events that led to me walking out of my office on campus, taking a cab to JFK, and flying several thousand miles to my mother’s house with nothing but my handbag, my laptop, and a copy of Harper’s that, incidentally, I was incapable of reading.  

     Oh, I tried to read it.  It was a long flight.  But I was entering my second week of bad insomnia, and I was experiencing mild auditory hallucinations.  So I’d pick an article, read a paragraph or two, and then give up and just blink owlishly at the text.  

       Yes, I could start to write more about that flight and the ten that that preceded it, and maybe I should do it while the memory and the trauma are still fresh…but I just don’t think that I have the emotional fortitude right now. 

      I crashed and burned, my friends.  See this lawyer here, who is apparently standing in front of the Gates of Hell?   I crashed and burned like the cars in the background. 


       After a half-dozen pitiful relapse-failures over the course of the last few years, I have finally had a relapse worthy of the name (actually, I don’t think that “relapse” is a very accurate word in this case, as it suggests returning to a previous condition.  This was worse than any of my previous conditions). 

        The good news is that I still have my teaching jobs.  I wish I could take credit for it, but I think the fact that we had four snow days in the month of January has something to do with it–it was impossible for me to fuck it up if I didn’t have to be in class.  

      The bills were all paid up by the time I got on the airplane.  I worked a lot since the New Year.  A lot.  In retrospect, this is probably the last thing I should have done once my emotional health started to deteriorate, because once it started to go, it unraveled very quickly. 

      I gave up keeping track of all the sessions I was doing.  Usually I’m good about keeping records…but it started to get depressing.

      My last week there, before the cab ride to JFK, I had twelve appointments at the Studio.  Two of them were fine.  The other ten were an All-Star lineup of psychopaths and degenerates.  In my entire career, I have never had a string of bad clients like that, one after the other. I won’t name names, but I’ve written about a few of them in the pages of this blog.  I am not blaming them for my drinking; I only bring them up to impress on you how this contributed to the overall hellishness of the situation into which I’d delivered myself.  My time spent working is about all I remember clearly from the latter end of January, because I don’t drink around clients and I don’t drink before class (I am a professional, after all. HA!).

      When combined with my savings, I have enough money to enroll in a rehab program.  It’s outpatient, so I’ll be able to work at my teaching jobs.  

      Today is eight days clean.  I’ll be starting the rehab with a clear mind (well, sort of), which will hopefully give me a head start.

      I’d ask you to wish me luck, but–and I hope this doesn’t come across as hubris–for the first time since I knew I wanted to stop drinking, I don’t feel like I need it.  I am done.  D-O-N-E. 

      I remember standing outside of an AA meeting right around the time I managed to get 90 days together.  I was talking with this guy, a middle-aged jazz musician.  He had long red hair and a ZZ Top beard.  I still run into him from time to time. 

      “Don’t go back out, kid,” he said.  “It only gets worse.  Believe me.  I’ve done the research.” 

       He wasn’t kidding. 

     P.S.  All is not lost–I’ve come back to life enough to get some of my sense of humor restored!  Check out the special Valentine I sent to the Mathematician, aka Dr. Cheating McLiarpants!  

       It’s actually not a valentine card…it’s a magnet I bought at a store.  A magnet for the fridge.  That’s all I sent him: this magnet in an envelope.  Anonymously.  To his work.  No return address.  

         Oh, I wish I could be there when he opens it.

Thanks for Nothing, Asshole


4 thoughts on “Eight Days Clean”

  1. All the very best in your new venture.

    I would add that being cyber-stalked is not helping with your stress level.

    So, if you’re reading this, Nate, (and I’m being deliberately polite here) just leave the lady alone please. Enough already.

  2. Thank you for being such an amazing writer and for sharing all of this with us. I have to say I admire the hell out of you, and it has long been my goal to send the shitty men in my life anonymous, vaguely hurtful pieces of mail. I now feel emboldened enough to do it!

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