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January 11
11:14 2019

By: Mike Rudon Jr.

My column this week, the first for 2019, has absolutely nothing to do with a tapir. But since everybody and their granny now suddenly loves the tapir and would lay down their lives for that wonderful creature, I wanted to start the year off on a good foot. So if anybody asks, let them know that Mike Rudon loves the damned tapir. That tapir is the last thing I think about at night, and the first thing I think about in the morning. Check my profile pic on Facebook – it’s a tapir.

I wasn’t going to do this column anymore. I closed off the year feeling that I put too much of my life out there – like I’d exposed too much, gotten too much unwanted attention. Because some of it was too raw and too real, too nasty and unpleasant. And while writing I realized just how far I’d sunk. I realized that I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty cool guy. But a pretty cool guy wouldn’t do the things I’ve done. So maybe the honesty in my writing became too much for me.

Yet here I am. Writing another column. Alone. I lost my family in 2018. And it is my fault. I’m a smart guy. I knew what the drinking was doing to them. But I was selfish. I needed my medication because I was suffering. I needed to do what I needed to do to feel better. So instead of spending time with my kids, I spent time with the bottle. I was so broken inside that I needed to do my own thing to make myself feel better. And I’ll say it again just in case you’re new to this – alcohol does make you feel better for the moment. Let’s not run away from that. If Red Bull gives you wings, alcohol gave me jet thrusters.

I never believed that I’d lose them. I said it often enough. In a corner of my mind I knew it was a possibility. But I never really believed it. I always thought there would be time to fix it. Just a few drinks this weekend and Monday we build back a family and home. Easy as that, right. But that only works in the movies. In real life, people get enough, and love is very, very rarely unconditional. I saw this meme a few days ago that said when you love somebody, you don’t try to change them. You accept them just as they are, with their faults. That’s a fairy tale. Try hanging out with a drunken guy a few weekends. That’s the reality.

My marriage is over, but maybe, just maybe, I can build back some sort of a relationship with my kids. I honestly don’t know. I was going to say that maybe along the way I find myself too – but I’ve learned that’s just something people say. I don’t even know who I am. So how will I find myself? What will I find? I can be the sweetest, most charming guy ever. And I can be a totally obnoxious prick. Which one is me? Am I the insecure, shy, bumbling Clark Kent who isn’t confident about anything but my writing and is uncomfortable in my own fat skin? Or am I the confident jokester who isn’t afraid to take on the world? Or am I the drunk who goes from home to home looking for friendship and company because he hates to be alone? Who am I? I don’t know. I really don’t.

But this isn’t a sad story. I’m over the tears. I left that in 2018. I’ll live with the regrets, but life goes on. I wanted my seven readers, particularly those who battle the demons I do, to know that the only thing in life you must never do is give up. I’m here, writing this column, smelling incredibly sexy and looking fat and fine, because I didn’t give up. While many of you brought in the New Year with family and friends, maybe cuddling or holding hands or drinking or having sex or whatever – I spent it alone, in a lonely room in a lonely bed listening to the fireworks. I could have given up. Believe me I wanted to give up. I’ve never felt so alone in my entire life. I wanted nothing more than to give up. After all, I’d lost everything – even me. But I got up.

Two things I want you to take from this. Opportunities aren’t endless. Learn that from me. So if you are where I was, back the hell up. Take a good look at your family, and your kids. Take a good look at the bottle of rum in your hand. And decide which means more to you. Because you can’t have them both. Take that from me. You can’t have them both. And the second thing – DON’T EVER STOP FIGHTING. People will scoff at you and scorn you and condemn you and call you a hypocrite when you fall. But never stop fighting. Because this is a battle for your soul and eventually, your life. I’m in it for the long haul. Lean on me, and we’ll make it through this together.

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