Half awake, half asleep I listened to a show about a man who died after eating dinner with his estranged wife. The coroner noted that the deceased had a blood alcohol content of .25 and ruled it as death by alcohol poisoning. The number caught my ear. Hadn’t I ‘overshot that mark considerably and lived to tell about it? I jolted up in bed and remembered.
It was a hot August Saturday. Not just kinda hot, but Arizona hot. Even the cacti looked parched. The phone rang. It was my former bother-in-Iaw. Would I like to take my daughter and join him and his children for a day at the water park? He would drive …
He would drive huh. Sounded like plan. I had been drinking heavily the night before and had bit the dog that bit me with a pint of vodka that morning. I was in no condition to drive. But if he was going to take the wheel, count us in.
Before meeting up, I drove up to the nearest drugstore with a liquor department. I was in no condition to drive but in my alcohol-impaired state that really just meant no driving on freeways. A little jaunt to the liquor department hardly counted.
Procuring another pint of vodka, I concealed it in a tightly wrapped beach towel. No one would be any the wiser. We made a quick trip over to his house, loaded up in the minivan and were off.
I had always wanted to take in this particular water park. It had multi-story tall slides a plenty that beckoned to the adventurous. Sure the water was probably urine-soaked by all the younger guests, but that’s what they make chlorine for I figured. As it turned out I never got to experience even one slide. I never taste-tested the urine saturation level of the water.
You see, as soon as we got there I decided to really get my buzz on. Once inside the gate, I made a beeline to the restroom to down my pint. That’s living … chugging a pint of warm vodka will sitting on very public, very used crapper. Watch out society page, I had arrived.
I vaguely remember making my way to where everyone was gathered. Then nothing. All went black. I didn’t even dream.
Coming to, I found myself in a hospital bed. An IV needle was taped to the back of my hand. The room was empty. I panicked. This couldn’t be good, I had to get out.
Ripping the IV out, I bolted for the door. Some nurses down the hall spotted me but we just stared at each other for a moment before I dashed to the front door and made my way to the parking lot.
That particular parking lot, like almost all parking lots, was made of black, sun-absorbing asphalt. It was cactus-wilting hot. I was barefoot. I sobered up rather abruptly.
Making my way gingerly back to the hospital I was greeted by two security guards. “Are we going to have a problem?” one inquired. “Are we going to have to put you in restraints?”
I assured them that my blistered feet had learned me a lesson and good. I wasn’t going anywhere. A docile drunk staggered his way back to his sterile sheets and most un-Posturpedic mattress.
Shortly thereafter a concerned and compassionate doctor made his way to my bedside. He explained that I had taken quiet the fall when I passed out, but the CAT scan showed no damage to my noggin. The real concern was my blood alcohol content. It was .43. He noted that they had lost a girl just the previous week who was .36.
This made no impression on me. My buzz was wearing off and my feet ached. I feigned interest in the concern he was earnestly trying to convey and then asked if I could use the phone. As soon as he left the room I was calling my girlfriend and spinning some tale about how I was in the hospital because I had taken a little tumble. I asked for a ride. She came at once.
Unfortunately, as she made her way to my room she was met by the doctor. Apparently his concern trumped the whole HIPPA privacy thing. He spilled the beans on why I was really there. That son-of-a- female-dog. I needed a drink and pronto. Instead he was setting me up for a lecture the whole way home about how my drinking was spiraling out of control.
The addict in the midst of active addiction is a most unreasonable chap. Here was a day that shouted: “GET SOME HELP, YOU ALMOST DIED!” But I was completely insane as to my relationship with alcohol. In the midst of alcoholic insanity all I could think about was how could I get more to drink and how fast could I get it.
Step Two: “Carne to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Alcohol is a subtle foe. It often whispers, “It’s not so bad.” Insanity indeed.