Disclaimer: Normally i write all my blogs in a separate word processing suite and edit them and ponder them and then post. Today, i am just gonna freeball it and we shall see how it goes.
I don’t like breaking promises or creating false hope, but sometimes that is how it goes. When last i wrote i expected to finish a serialized piece on relationships and self discovery as well as complete the John Muir Trail video. Neither of those things happened.
I went to do some dog-sitting with Mickey and Max and despite their loveliness I started to get very depressed again. A few days into my small-ish pity party, i got some bad news from my adopted hometown Richmond VA. One of my buds and mentors, the fellow i apprenticed with to learn how to lay tile, committed suicide by hanging. Yah, he hung himself.
I was shocked and confused and hurt and angry. I spent a day on the phone with various friends, making sure other out of town folks knew and sharing memories and feelings with others. Over a few days there was a huge outpouring of various kinds on the facebooks, and lots of it was crap. There were many people that had not said a kind word about this guy in a decade talking about what a tragedy it was and how awesome he was and how much he will be missed – and that really pissed me off. Later, as i looked back, maybe there were a few attention whores out there, but probably this was people trying to find their own way to deal with grief and shock and in many cases guilt.
This was a difficult human being. He was brilliant, a master craftsman, and a guy who could build or fix anything inanimate. But he was also not the most gifted at interpersonal relationships and communication. Like many tradesman i know, he was a recovering alcoholic and had lifelong battles with depression. Over the past few years, it was obvious that his mental health was deteriorating. He went on and off the wagon again a few times. He wrote more and more bizarre things on the internet, and was difficult to get ahold of in person. Sometimes i would try to visit him when i returned to Richmond, and other times i avoided him and spent time with people who are easier to get along with. I think lots of people had a similar arc in the past few years of doing a little bit of reaching out and a lot more of avoiding or ignoring him. And i believe that is where the feelings of guilt come in. I don’t feel responsible in any way, but i do wonder if i could have done anything to make a difference.
The anger is harder to comprehend. I am angry at him for giving up. I am angry at him for choosing hanging (though i don’t know that any method would be easier to tolerate). I am angry at the outpouring of what feels to me like fake false crap from “mourners”. I am angry at myself for feeling that way about other people’s reactions. I am angry at me for being angry. And i am angry because i am terrified – because of how similar we are in so many ways.
I have felt myself slipping mentally since December. I have taken a few minor steps to try and get a handle on things, but i made no serious commitment and took no decisive actions. I have even avoided several things that i know are good for me including finishing the piece i started months ago on relationships. I have had the backstory part finished for at least 5 weeks, i just got stuck on the conclusion – the “so what” – the “what have you learned” parts.
And off and on since December, i have not done very well with controlling my drinking. I
spent wasted a few more days at the bottom of a bottle after hearing the news about my friend and then i realized that it was time to suck it up. I don’t know what all my problems are, and i don’t know how to fix all the ones that i do recognize, but there is one that affects all the others. I have not said these words in a long long time, but here ya go.
Hi, my name is Nick and i am an alcoholic. It has been 11 and a half days since my last drink and today i want to be sober and live more than i want to get drunk and hide. Thanks for letting me share.