Saturday, March 26, 2011


My brother Bill

I was torn in a way I had never known before. I felt like a fool who had finally awakened to the realization of my own twenty-year folly.

Where once I had been convinced I would succeed, I now felt awkward in the presence of my own past, uncomfortable in the gaze of my own eyes.

How could I have been this wrong for so long? How did I manage to deceive myself so many times? These questions battered me as I collected the last of my belongings.

I didn't want my tapes. I left them where they were, relics of the past that I would leave behind. They were no longer my work, no longer my hopes, they were no more than evidence of my failure.

I had nine years of sobriety, and my life was as fucked up as it had ever been. In the beginning, I had had great and wonderful expectations of a new life, but now, nine years later, I stood in the midst of the cold hard facts.

I was sober alright, but as miserable as I had ever been. Strangely, there was no desire to drink or use. For whatever reason, I was committed to sobriety, even now.

I marveled momentarily at this realization, marveled at my capacity to eat so much pain and disappointment and not get loaded.

What I was learning now was the hardest thing. It had taken nine years of sobriety to finally convince me to alter my path, but I had no path, other than that which I'd pursued my whole life, so the future appeared black before me.

I didn't know where I was going to go. There was no one anywhere I could ask. I had no money, just over a $100, and a used car.

As a last resort, and because I did not know what else to do, I decided the only person I could call was my mother. The bitterness of that in itself was enough to cause me to think of blowing my brains out.

For me, it implied complete and utter failure, the last chance saloon as it were. I hated that call more than any I had made or received in a very long time, but there was no one else.

I hadn't slept at all when I made the call. I remember well the sound of my brother Bill's voice answering.


"Hi, Bill, it's me, Bob."

"Hey, bro," he answered, "how are you?"

"Not so hot," I said, "having a tough time out here."

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Same old shit," I said, "Hey do you think it would be OK if I came up there for a few days?"

"Hey, mom," I heard him yell, "it's Bob on the phone. Is it OK if he comes up here?" He quickly returned to the phone, "Yeah, man, it's OK, you can come."

"OK," I said, "that's good. It'll just be for two or three days. Thanks, Bill."

"Yeah, sure," he replied, "When are you coming?"

"Today," I said, "Later today, if that's OK."

"Yeah," he said, "It's OK. I'll tell mom."

"OK," I said again, "I'll see you guys later today."

"Alright, man, I'll see you later," he said.

"OK! And thanks again, Bill. Goodbye."

"Goodbye, Bob."

I hung up the phone. I felt like I was dead.

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