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Grapevine : January 2012
couch. We would go to a hamburger joint and laugh at each other be- cause we were shaking so badly that we couldn’t hold our burgers. None of us could hold down a job, and none of us could maintain steady re- lationships, so we simply engaged in one-night stands whenever possible. We would drink ourselves into obliv- ion. By this point, none of us were attending classes any more. One by one, we began to disappear. Fam- ily members would show up unan- nounced and tell us we were coming home. I was second to last to leave. I felt a great sense of relief when my father came to get me. I would again be surrounded by people I loved and trusted. I began a veterinary tech- nician program and got a job. What began as an exciting career prospect turned into a miserable failure. I felt I was studying to be a glorified ani- mal nurse and couldn’t accept being a man in my early 20s who cleaned dog kennels. I was too proud to do either, so I quit and began changing tires at a wholesale club. Each of my old drinking buddies had moved to Toledo, and once we ran into each other, we jumped right back into our old routine. I moved into a townhouse with a couple of them, against my parents’ wishes. In less than a month, my drinking had escalated beyond what it had been in michigan. I accumulated a few more arrests for disorderly conduct and received a second DUI. At this point, I had lost my driver’s license and my parents took my car, claiming that I might kill someone if they didn’t. my roommates had become disgusted with me and my parents told me that I was no longer welcome on their property. Then, in a bar I picked a fight with a short, husky member of a wres- tling team. I was so intoxicated that I could barely stand up. The wrestler and two of his friends pounded on me with baseball bats. I managed to stumble back to my friends’ apart- ment and, knowing that I would have to stop drinking if I went to the hos- pital, decided to stay there and drink the rest of the night. I had three bro- ken ribs, a fractured eye socket, a frac- tured jaw and shattered facial bones. After a hospital stay, reconstructive surgery was performed on my face. I then began a new routine back at the townhouse. Spending all of my time in the cold cement basement, I only went out to buy more alcohol. I had a mini-fridge, a chair, a gar- bage can to get sick in and a light bulb hanging from the ceiling. This became my world. I did manage to clean myself up a few times to get a job, but was fired from each of them within a couple of days for things like stealing, showing up intoxicated or simply not showing up at all. Each time I couldn’t pay my share of the bills, I would ask my grandmother to help me out, and she always came through. my roommates would come aagrapevine.org 25 GRAPE_22-29.indd 25 11/22/11 3:56 PM