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A year-long spiral out of control culminated in a burning throat as my body violently rejected the bourbon I had forced into it. A part of me sat there, knowing I was a fucking mess. Another part, looked into the swirl of half digested dinner and thought, “What a waste of good Bourbon”
As I staggered naked to my bed, a voice cut through the darkness.
“Are you okay?”
I am not sure of when I stopped being okay.
Shortly before my mother passed, plans were being made. She wanted to see her grandsons. I wanted my children to have someone on my side of the family. I had grown tired of introducing them to “aunts” and “uncles” who were just the friends who stuck around after I became a parent. I wanted them to have real family, from my bloodline. A big part of being a parent is giving your children things you felt you missed growing up. I felt I missed out on having a family. They deserved to at least have relationships I hadn’t been afforded growing up.
I also hoped kids were the medicine my life needed. And mostly, they were. In becoming a father I moved past parties and recreational drugs, settling into a comfy pair of sweatpants and watching my waistline expand. I was hoping the same injection of purpose given to me would spread through members of my family. In an, I will admit, odd line of thinking, I hoped my kids would give my mother and various other family members a reason to be in my life. That they would be brought together by my sons and we might just yet have a large, smiling, family photo next to the christmas tree. For my kids to have “Grandma Chris” was a big deal to me.
On January 28th, after hearing the news that a heart attack took Grandma Chris before she got to hold her grandchildren, a piece of me died. I had tethered myself so tightly to the dream of my kids sitting happily in my mother’s lap as I looked on smiling that there wasn’t any way it not happening wouldn’t completely destroy me.
Have you ever watched as the ice splinters and fractures? Ice cold water pours through cuts to the surface, as the ice that held together so valiantly just continues to fracture into pieces.
On the surface, it became easy to smile. How do you not? We live in a society where grieving periods last about as long as a trending subject on social media. Below the surface, demons awoke. For all the fights we had, they knew with the passing of my mother that I was weakened. Like ice, I fractured and the demons poured through the cracks. As I grew accustomed to doing over the years, I bit my lip and refused to acknowledge the problems. In ignoring my needs, I hoped they would just go away.
If I don’t feed you, you will die.
But, I was feeding my demons. I might not have been very public about the late nights sitting there nourishing them, but I fed them.
Beer. Cigarettes. Whiskey. Vodka.
I gorged them on love and lust, feeding them desire after desire. Infidelity and everything in between.
I sat there holding a match to my life, waiting for it to be caught in flames.
The family I felt I never deserved now watched me spiral deeper into my own madness. Random acts of assholery and rage.
If you don’t acknowledge the grief it turns into an anger that can completely engulf you.
A year of feeding your demons in the dark will leave you filled with all the wrong emotions. Not releasing those emotions doesn’t make you a harder person. It eats you alive.
In nine days it will be a year since I sunk into the darkness.
A year of trying to destroy everything.
A year of self sabotage.
A year of silent suffering.
“Are you okay?”
“We both know I haven’t been for a long time”