September 20th, 2007

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1.74.1 Rehabilitation

Bacchus hath drowned more men than Neptune.
-Dr. Thomas Fuller

[Locked from those who don't already know]

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.

I am a detective. I am a brother. I am a boyfriend.

I am an alcoholic.

I used to be someone who could have a drink at the end of the day without problems, no questions asked. I could sit on my couch for hours nursing one scotch, letting my anxieties melt away with the ice in my glass. This used to be enough. There wasn't anything I couldn't work out of my system. Problems were like muscle cramps, thinking about them would be the massage. It would be four months before I needed to buy a new bottle of Glenlivet. I had a favorite glass I liked to use, one I'd picked up in England. It's heavy, feeling like it was actually worth holding and it felt good in my hand. I had a favorite record I liked to play, one that was well worn with nice memories attached. Vivaldi's Four Seasons. One the particularly rough nights, my routine would stay the same, except I'd switch to Dvorak. New World Symphony.

Then my life went to hell. At some point, I stopped putting ice in my drink. Why waste perfectly good ice cubes if I'm not going to enjoy it? Then, they became doubles and I'd go to bed sufficiently slozzled. What did I care? I was able to sleep and that's all I needed. Gage, Wiznewsky... they kicked me while I was already down, not even taking into account that by this time, my mother was going downhill quickly. I switched to whiskey. Enter, Mark Ford Brady. He... broke me. And I gave up on using a glass.

Brady died. Ma died.

I died.

I know there was at least one week where I was drunk four out of five days. I don't remember. I don't remember who came to see me or what was said to me. I do remember starting many fights with my girlfriend within a matter of days. I remember two separate occasions where I tried to end our relationship. And I think, one of those times, I may have actually told her to get lost. I know I hurt her. How could I not have? I was mean, resentful, spiteful... angry at the world and she just kept stepping in front of the train.

Pop off the top, suck it down like water. One dead soldier. Repeat ad nauseum. But that never made the cold in my chest go away. It never took away the feeling of... suffocating blindness. It never eased the feeling of wanting to peel off my skin with my bare hands, a feeling that comes with the knowledge of a tainted existence. My response? I mustn't be drinking enough. I was doing my damnedest to make life go away. But I wasn't dealing with it; I wasn't facing it head on. I'm still not, but I'm at least more open to the idea now.

I don't talk about this with anyone. Not even really with my girlfriend. We've both survived, but that's all we've done. We swept it under the metaphorical rug and slapped a few band-aids on the deep wounds. Recently, as my medication decreases, I pick at those wounds with increasing frequency. I pick and I scratch because they've just started to heal, but one of these days, I'll slip and I'll bleed. I know she's standing by, holding her breath, with towels and more band-aids, praying that this isn't the time I bleed to death. She's watching the countdown, seeing each number tick by, knowing that when the countdown reaches zero, there won't be anything left to put band-aids on. She counts the time 'till her heart breaks.

For me to be able to articulate those four words is a step in the right direction. I am an alcoholic. It's the ultimate failure, but getting those words out is the ultimate beginning. It knocks me down so that I can start to rebuild properly, with a strong foundation and the support of people who genuinely care. Two people who will stick around a hell of a lot longer than a bottle of alcohol will. When she's not around, when I'm by myself, I occasionally have feelings of doubt and self-loathing, but if I allow myself to talk about it when she is here, I can keep the darkness at bay. Slowly, gradually, I'm opening up. To do this is to truly allow the healing to start, to take off the band-aids. I'm feeling real change now.

I am talented. I am important. I am loved.

I am a recovering alcoholic.
Character: Robert Goren
Fandom: Law and Order: CI
Word Count: 764
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