I’ve almost killed myself, twice.
Almost killed myself as in hospital bed, “He might not make it”, family by my side, the entire production. For nothing other than luck and heroic medical professionals am I still here today.
Both were unintentional, but both my own doing.
The first time I was in University and it was because I drank too much. Not because I was drunk which then caused a part B, but because I literally almost drank myself to death.
It wasn’t even an atypical night, at least not until the end. We started watching football and I had a couple bottles of “wine”, the cheap gas station variety. Then, after going to different parties and drinking for the next however-many hours, I ended up at another house where I don’t recall a whole lot. What did happen was that somebody handed me a half-gallon of vodka and, with or without encouragement, I chugged everything that was left.
Probably not long after, I passed out and would have certainly died if it wasn’t for an accident of extreme luck. Two friends where deliverying my limp body home, which was nearby. If they had made it there, I would have been placed in my bed to never wake up again. But in the spirit of the night, on the way down the fire escape stairs, they dropped me. The person carrying me by my arms was horrified as I slipped through their hands and my head smacked metal, splitting open.
An ambulance was summoned and I was taken to the hospital where they soon realized this wasn’t just a head trauma but alchohol poisoning, so they pumped my stomach and got an IV flowing fluids back in. My stability was uncertain so they called and my mother came in, a 5 hour drive away.
What I didn’t do was learn.
That night, the highest reading of my blood alchohol content was 0.465%
People have died from less. That same week, at another University, a guy my age died from a lower BAC.
I would have been done at 18 years old. It was just luck.
The next party I went to, I got drunk.
When I was 23 it was much, much worse. The story isn’t all that different, alchohol, destruction, nearly died, but this time with massive injuries and a long horrible trip for my parents: 15 hours flying halfway around the world this time.
I won’t go into the entire story now, but the price I paid was big. I use prosthetics and a wheelchair because of it. There’s still no way I should be alive. More shocking than that, though, it was another 9 years before I stopped drinking.
If you’re involved in substance abuse, then I don’t have good advice for you. All I can really say from my experience is that, if you think you can manage it, you are wrong. It isn’t going to stop being a problem, it isn’t going to get better and it isn’t because you are a bad person. It is just a crazy beast. For it to stop, , but to get whatever help it will take. I had probably the lightest form of it, I simply drank as much as I could get my hands on after a certain point. Otherwise, I had no dependency. Look what it still managed to do to me, and look how long it took me to figure it out.
Why are we so good at destruction? There are big dumb ways we go about it, that any outsider could see. That’s not all though, we do a lot of little things, daily things that are destructive. They don’t bring us joy, they bring us unhappiness.
From eating unhealthy, to not working out. From half-assing it at work to hours playing _____ (enter the mobile phone game of the season here). From clicking the next link, the next video, the next app… well, I will make my own list. These things make us miserable. Not so much because of the activities themselves, but because we are doing them instead of doing something better, something productive.
This isn’t how I work though. I just take the easy way out, cave to my instant desire, do what everybody else is doing, mentally turn off, take the passive entertainment over the engaging and active kind, and then I feel like a total failure because I gave in or because I didn’t make things happen for myself.
I’ve made some good progress. Caffeine is the only substance I’m currently abusing, working on that a bit. There are things that I’m currently working on that have me popping out of bed before my alarm (no matter how early I set it), and I’m addressing things by thinking about them, writing about them, and simply working on them.
In no way am I aiming for perfection. That would be a fools pursuit… and probably a boring result. I’m just interested in getting better, in finding more joy.
Well, here is to making things better for both for ourselves and others. Enjoy today.
-AjK, 21 February 2015