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Grapevine : August 2010
Sure, I drank a lot and wanted to die, but I wasn't insane! The school year finally ended, I returned home, and another long- term girlfriend left me. Just when I thought I couldn't be any more depressed, any more unhappy with life, my worst fear came true: I was truly alone. My parents were in an- other state, my brother was at work all day, and I had no friends or girl- friends to turn to. A handful of suicide at- tempts, two more trips to the mental hospital and countless empty bottles later, I wound up taking the semes- ter off and living with my parents. I didn't drink for the first month or so, but was miserable nonetheless. Drinking didn't cause me misery--- I was just naturally depressed and thought I was one of those people who were destined to take their own lives. At this time, my mom had got- ten sober. She was gone all day at AA meetings, while my dad worked all day. She seemed different. She was happier and more interested in the things she did for fun: bird watching, hiking and riding her bike. I couldn't make the connection at that point between sobriety and happiness. Af- ter all, I had everything figured out. I returned to school the follow- ing winter to find that my room- mates didn't need me. They went out at night while I stayed at home in my room, just like the previous semes- ters. Surely, this would be the end. But one friend stuck with me, and we shared bottles together. One morn- ing, both physically and mentally sick, we talked of a different way. "I just can't go on this way," he said. "I'm so tired of waking up in this state every day. There's got to be a different way to live." A few days later, we were shar- ing some drinks we brewed our- selves. It wasn't legal. We went to bed that night just like any other night. But that Friday night, I prayed for the first time since my childhood. I prayed to whoever was listening, "Please take me away from this." The following morning I woke to find my friend dead. He had over- dosed. Suddenly, everything became completely real---every lie I told, everything I stole, everyone who I deceived ran through my mind at the speed of light. And as I sat cry- ing until my hands, head and feet went numb, I had a great realiza- tion: I didn't want to die. I was look- ing right at my friend, whose life- less body lay on the floor while the emergency medics tried to resusci- tate him. It was not glorious, nor was anybody happy at the scene. "If it weren't for you," his mom said to me a few days later, "my son would still be alive." Again, that feeling of wanting it all to end hit me. But she said something else: "You need help." A week later, I went into treat- Grapevine 55