Blank 18 4-7-15

It's hard to stay grateful when the Department of Children and Families won't let you drive your kids to school, and that means your wife is mad at you still. It's hard to be cool with your Probation Officer as he watches you wiz in the men's bathroom at the court because you have to prove yourself now. You have to earn it all back because you spent it.

I lost the trust and had to earn it. I was thinking I was fine because the heroin was years behind me; my girlfriend didn't even know me back then. I was thinking booze won't kill you like the heroin will--and everybody drinks, right? I don't even remember the night the cops came. My little boy couldn't look me in the eye for two months afterwards. I saw the mess at the apartment when I got released. My girlfriend wouldn't clean it up. They went to her moms and left me to sweep up glass and throw out the pieces.

I'd had one of those guys over that you call "friends" when your life has nothing solid holding you up. You jump from this to that, friend to friend. I can't remember what we argued about, but I showed him he was wrong , that everything about him was wrong--his face, his mouth and the words that came out of it. The more he bled, the more I hated his weakness.

I can tell you now it was me I hated. It got a little touch and go there when I really felt it. My Carson therapist had me on a suicide watch, but I promised I wouldn't hurt myself and I meant it. When the shame hits, it is pretty bad. It is hard to stay grateful.

My Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor said I should go to ninety meetings in ninety days, but I went to more--sometimes twice a day. When I started admitting the truth, all of it came rushing to me, things I'd forgotten, my Dad and his goddamn belt, all of it. Those were two-meeting-a-day days.

Yesterday was my last day of Probation. Truth is, I'll miss that guy. He didn't give up on me. DCF closed and I can see my kids unsupervised now. I've got a contract to build a house. My girlfriend is coming with me to Carson next week. You have to earn it all back when you spend it, but I know I can.

by JAC Patrissi