Friday, December 17, 2010


Me in 1983

The aftermath of the attack in the kitchen left me feeling like Gary's prison "bitch." It took some doing for me to resolve it in my own mind. I'd met him through one of my sponsors in AA, Bobby E., and he was Gary's sponsor too.

Gary and I had known each other awhile, and we liked each other, so it was hard to make sense out of the episode. What had really happened? I didn't know for sure, but suspected, and still do, that he was getting loaded.

There is no way of knowing this, other than guessing about it, but it would explain, in part, the outrageous behavior that seemingly came out of nowhere. Anyway, it made sense to me at the time to incorporate the possibility that he was not clean.

I went and talked to Bobby E., who had once sponsored both of us, but was no longer my sponsor, and asked him if he knew what had happened and what was going on with Gary. He said he had heard about it, but didn't have all the details.

I laid it out for him, but got no real definitive answer from his feedback, other than Gary had been grappling with some problems of his own.

I told Bobby E., that I wanted to kill Gary because of what he had done to me. I said I had to set it straight in my own mind.

Bobby E., who came from the streets like me and Gary, understood my position and feelings, but asked if I was prepared to spend a long time in prison and ruin my own life over it.

He asked if I could live with the mental and emotional consequences of killing someone, even if they deserved it for doing what Gary had done to me. I told him I didn't know, but I would seriously think about it.

I left feeling the same way as I had before talking to Bobby E. My problem was that I felt ashamed that Gary bashed my head in and I had done nothing about it. I didn't try to defend myself. I had just taken it.

For me, this was a serious problem. It made me want to seek revenge by getting even, but getting even would put me in jeopardy of losing my freedom, and could possibly be something I couldn't live with, which could cause me to lose my sobriety, the only thing I had of real value.

I reasoned, and it took a couple of months, as I recall, that what had happened was not a fight, it had been an unwarranted assault with a deadly weapon. I was half asleep, partially dressed, in my own kitchen with a friend, I thought, when he went off and attacked me with a blunt instrument.

For me, this gave context to my difficulty in regards to the shame I felt for not fighting back at the time. This was extremely important, because it explained to me why I did not defend myself.

I further reasoned that Gary was in a world of shit himself and was going to have to cope with what he had done to me. Sometime later I ran into him at an NA meeting and got to ask him, "What happened Gary? What the fuck was that about?"

He looked me straight in the eye, half smiling, and said, "I don't know, I just went goofy."

I remember staring back at him, trying to think of some way to answer, but couldn't. It was the last time I ever saw him. A few years later I got an anonymous phone call and the person said, "I thought you'd want to know that Gary was found dead in his own bed, he bled to death internally."

To this day I still do not know what actually caused Gary to do what he did. When I heard he was dead I said, "OK, thanks for letting me know."

After that I thought, "What goes around comes around, and in Gary's case it killed him..." What I have recently come to believe is that Gary may have been using steroids, but again I have no way of knowing for sure.