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Grapevine : January 2012
W hen I look back at the last few months of my drinking, I get chills. Those months were horrible, and I was miserable. I had come to know the four hideous horsemen—terror, bewilderment, frustration, and de- spair. I could not stop drinking. I drank from the moment I woke up in the morning until I fell down at night. I was drunk all the time. I was so de- pressed, angry and shame-ridden. I could not look at myself in the mirror. I could not stand my own reflection. Facing the reality of my train-wreck life was too painful when sober—and barely tolerable when drunk. I was without hope and had reached the end of my rope. I had only one option left: I needed to end my life. I lacked the courage to take the step, but I would ponder it most of the time. I could no longer go on like this. On Sunday, November 25, 2007, with some borrowed money in my pocket, I arrived at my neighborhood watering hole at approximately 11 a.m. Most everyone knew me at the bar. I had been there a gazillion times. I or- dered a shot of whiskey and a bottle of beer. The Minnesota Vikings were preparing to play the New York Giants at noon. The Giants were favored. The Vikings beat up the Giants pretty good that day. I stayed at the bar, I drank, and I watched the whole game. I stayed and drank through the 3 p.m. game too. I was well-oiled again by the time the Sunday night game started. I began explaining to all my drinking acquaintances at the bar about my decision to end my life. I became a drunken philosopher as I described the benefits of suicide and the hopelessness of life itself. With a certain slur of my speech, I rational- ized out loud that to end one’s own life is not necessarily a negative event. I went on to explain that in some cultures, suicide was thought of as a noble act. My drinking pals listened and laughed at my rant because they knew I was at least as drunk as they were. I still have a twinge of shame when I recall this toasted philosopher event. I was an embarrassing, blub- bering idiot. It was truthfully what I had become. At approximately 9:30 p.m. I bid all my drinking buddies and bud- dettes a final farewell as I raised my whiskey in an act of false pride and self-absorption. I finished my drink and left the bar to go home. It was a cold evening when I arrived at my house. I entered and moved toward the junk drawer in my kitchen. I pulled a flashlight and a box cutter from the drawer. I filled a glass with vodka and walked into the back- yard of my home. I sat down behind my garage. I did not want to kill my- self in the house because I wanted to avoid the mess it would make. 48 January 2012 GRAPE_47-51.indd 48 11/14/11 4:38 PM