I heard a knock at the front door. A sound so rare for I could go weeks without any human interaction. My only interaction, the sharing of such a desperate time with Mr. Alcohol, my best friend, my lover, my worst enemy.
I stumbled to the front door. A bedraggled mess of a man. A man, bloated and heavily jaundiced. I opened the door and there was my doctor.
He took one look at me and immediately phoned for an ambulance. For, before him, was the worrying sight of somebody who hadn't eaten for three weeks. The only nutrition, if you could call it that, was the consumption of three, two litre bottles of strong cider per day. Before the doctor, a man drowning in a sea of alcoholic despair. I was stretchered away. This would be my fourth alcohol-related stay at a hospital.
Near the end of the first week of what would be a five week stay, I had my ex wife and my nine year old son, Tristan, make a fleeting visit. For they were about to go to Canada with her boyfriend and their baby boy. Through tear-stained eyes, I hugged my son. A hug that I cherish to this day. A hug that saved my life.
After that, I had no visitors. No visitors to note that during the first week I nearly died. No visitors to be there for my birthday. And yet, despite it all, despite me watching others having visitors and listening to the laughter, listening to the crying, I had time to reflect, time to change, one last chance to live.
That one last chance, further enhanced when a nurse came over to my bed and stated that I had a phone call at the ward's reception. Very weak, oh, so very weak, I was taken in a wheelchair to the ward's reception. It was my mother phoning from Vancouver. Her words of comfort, resonate with love, twenty years on.
I could go into the harrowing details of how I ended up as a mere shadow of my former self. A paranoid character swigging back two litre bottle of cider down back alleys. But, that's in the past. A past that taught me lessons that through such a potential demise, I could become better, stronger, more compassionate.
I'd had a nervous breakdown twenty years ago. So much had happened and I tried to numb the relentless workplace bullying, the collapse of my marriage, compounded by the fact my wife had gotten pregnant by another man whilst still married to me. I couldn't cope. I was scared. I was going insane and the insanity was made all the worse with the insidious evil of the alcohol I consumed.
And twenty years on, I'm still fragile, still raw. I battle with debilitating depression and chronic fatigue. It impacts me so much that my blogging has been sporadic. It impacts me so much that I've hardly the energy to be involved with one of my vital lifelines, the vital lifeline that be the blogging community.
Twenty years on, I do know that the day I left hospital, I left as a free man. A man, most importantly, genuine in his conviction that alcohol would never again control his life.