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Rocky Balboa

October 26
07:22 2019

By: Mike Rudon Jr.

Here’s one thing you need to know from the start. I never thought I’d write one of these columns again. And I wouldn’t have, if three of my faithful seven readers hadn’t threatened to protest. Here’s another thing you need to know. This column won’t be about boxing, or about my favourite uncle Rocky. I thought about him, because how I feel right now is how he looked after Drago beat the crap out of him. I didn’t think he would make it, face all swollen, punch drunk, staggering, beaten to a pulp – and yet, against all odds, he survived, and won.

Let me get something else off my chest. I have been drinking again. Not as much, and not as frequently – but that is neither here nor there. I have been depressed. I have been caught up in a rut where nothing seems to be going right. I have disappointed mass hordes of persons. I have disappointed my family. Most importantly, I have disappointed myself. I won’t belabor that point. It’s bad enough without going on and on about it. And I have learned a couple hard lessons along the way. I can’t care so much about what people think. My circle is smaller today than it was a month ago. And that has to be okay. Not everybody can deal with an alcoholic friend, or an alcoholic family member – and the truth is nobody is obligated to. No harm, no foul.

I’m going back to AA tonight, for the first time in months. I don’t want to. The first time I sat in that room, I could feel the sweat of shame tricking down my back. This time will be much worse. The shame will be worse, the sense of failure will be worse, and I have had to admit to myself that I had it all wrong the first time around. Bad enough having to admit it to myself – but I plan to stand up in that room and say it out loud. Go big or go home right?

I remember, as I approached two months sober, for the first time in my drinking life. Boy, I was on top of the world. I sat in that AA room and I had no clue what I was doing in there. I was cured. I had kicked this habit, defeated my demons. I listened to the stories and I couldn’t get it. I was walking tall and proud. I was pouring drinks for friends because I could. I saw the difference in me, and I got arrogant and stupid. I know that alcohol was cunning, baffling and powerful – but I was more cunning and more powerful. What the hell was I thinking?

Anyway, there’s a message somewhere in all this. Alcohol destroys lives. But we all knew that, right? It turns us into incredible fools and messes with our heads. I never thought I would get back to the point where I have trouble sleeping. I never thought I would get back to the point where I lay in my bed sweating, horrified that with all I know, and as smart as I am, I still took that first drink. And a second, and a third. And as I write this, there is nothing I can do about it. It’s done. And I’ll do my best to get past it, and to work on the darkness in my head, because nothing has changed, really. I said this way back at the beginning, and I’ll say it again – alcohol kills everything good in anybody.

So, part 2 of my journey starts. And I’m okay doing it alone. Like I said, I didn’t plan to write about this anymore. It’s not easy putting my weakness out there, and not easy putting my shame out there. Maybe, in some corner of my mind, I still hope that what I go through helps somebody, even if only to find help, or to talk to someone, or to ease back. I have seen what alcohol does to me. It turns a grown-ass, intelligent man into a total fool. It does the same thing to you, believe me. As I have ended so many of my columns, some words of advice – God and family. I will hold on to God and family, because God somehow sees something in me that I don’t see, and my family hasn’t given up…just yet. And just so you know, I haven’t given up either. I can do this. We can do this.

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