Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Mike's Last Day

Today is the last day of my life.

It seems that I have always had problems with keeping life in perspective. It is like a faucet that only has on and off, no middle ground. There have been times when things were good and under control but it seems like it never lasted for long, either the faucet was on or off.

I am sure there are issues from my childhood that play into this but I have to wonder if most of it is not just a personality trait. I mean, I have siblings that have lives, which are by no means perfect, but are a far cry better than what I am currently experiencing. I have never been one to blame my problems on other people and I can't say that there is something specific that my parents or other family members did to me that would cause my life to turn out so drastically different than my brother or sister's did. So I would have to say I have always had an "addictive" personality and that plays a huge part in how I make my decisions and ultimately how my life turns out.

Enough of the self-analysis. I had things good for a while, at several different times in my life. There was my first marriage when I had my kids and it looked like I was going to have a normal life. I really did love my wife, and my kids, and all that we had but once again, for me, it is all or nothing and I guess I felt like something was missing and so I had to fix it. Of course, if you talk to anyone else, looking from the outside, they would tell you that I had it all and just didn't know it. So would be the story of my life. Eventually my wife and I divorced but we stayed on good terms and I was able to play a role in the upbringing of my kids. I am not sure if this will be a blessing for them or not. Anyhow, being single again led me to develop new friends and new activities. I started partying more and experimented with some recreational drugs. In hindsight this was probably not a good decision on my part. I found before long that I was enjoying the recreation more than regular life.

At some point in the middle of all of this, I got injured on the job in a big way. This injury led me to more potent drugs for the pain, to which I found myself dependent. For some time I was not able to work, and I think that this changed my way of thinking in many ways. I was not in control of my life anymore, I felt like someone had taken that control from me. I only felt good when I was high and that made me feel even more out of control. I began the long process of trying to sue my employer for my accident, I guess I felt I had to do something to improve my situation. I am sure that my current lifestyle helped justify my new "thinking". I often wonder if I hadn't been injured, if things would have turned out differently or not. I could blame all my future problems on this but I have to take some accountability for the choices I have made in life.

Eventually, I was back on my feet, but still dependent on drugs and the lifestyle that came with it. I was dealing drugs on the side to make some money, while I was waiting for my settlement. My attorney was constantly telling me that it would be big and it would be soon but it seemed like nothing ever happened. Even with the things that were going on externally, I did feel happy during this time in my life. I was actively involved with my kids and on speaking terms with my ex-wife. I had my own home and pretty much did as I wanted each day. I reconnected with a love interest from the past while at a bar and we were dating pretty steadily. She was a wonderful woman who added much to my life at that point.

After a period of years, we decided to get married. We were really in love. We had a beautiful wedding and moved into our own place at last. It was fabulous. I mean of course there were issues but it really felt like my life was going okay again. This woman turned out to be the love of my life and I know now how much hell I put her through during our relationship. Not long after we got married, it became evident to everyone I knew that I had a problem and needed some help. I wanted to get control of my drug and alcohol issues so I could lead a more fulfilling life. My wife helped me get treatment and I came out of rehab feeling rejuvenated and a completely new man. She joined me in my sobriety and together we tackled daily life with an addiction and in most cases we won. I was still not working and still waiting on my settlement. She worked pretty regularly and that kept us out of debt. This time, which spans over 8+ years, has to be the best time of my life. If I had an addiction during this time, it was an addiction to her. She was everything to me and everything I did was for her or for us.

I still to this day, I do not know what happened to that time in my life, how I managed to let it out of my grasp. It was never perfect, no one's life is but it was good for the most part. I guess there was a time when I started to divert, from my addiction to my life with my wife, to an addiction to gambling. That is one thing that has been constant in my life for many years, addiction. In one form or another, and I am not sure if the addiction to her and my life with her could necessarily be considered a good thing. Perhaps it only hid the symptoms of a larger problem that surfaced when I began to gamble. The gambling and the deceit and betrayal that came with it eventually was the end of our life together. We broke up several times and got back together several times but she didn't trust me anymore and finally decided that she couldn't live that way any longer. We stayed friends, I know she still loved me, she just needed more and I was in no shape to give it to her. After we broke up, I used up my other friends and family to the point that no one trusted me or wanted much to do with me. I know this.

I started to drink again. It was the only relief that I could find to the life I had made for myself. Without a job and the motivation to get one, I was soon on the street and living on the charity of others. I made several missions my home until I got booted from them by breaking the rules. Once again, things were out of control and I seemed either willing to go with it or just didn't care enough anymore. It is during this time that I made a couple of close friends, friends that I have to this day. It is kind of interesting when you make friends when you are this low. You know that they are not your friends for anything you have, they are there because they want to be. Anyhow, these friends and I have always had a deal. When one of us comes into some money, we rent a hotel room, get some food and some alcohol. The plan is to celebrate our fortune and life, and whatever else we can think of celebrating, and sleep in a warm comfortable bed for a night. It is a nice break from the streets.
I guess that brings us up to date. Today is one of those good days. We are celebrating in a warm hotel room with plenty of food and drink. I am happy. It is all relative, and I am happy considering the circumstances of my life right now. I don't know if I have it figured out, what happened to my life, to bring me where I am now, but I know that I made some choices, not all of them good and they have all contributed to who I am and where I am these days. Maybe tomorrow I will choose to change my life, maybe I won't. Living in the present seems to be what I do best.