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Sober Reflections

Sober Reflections
February 22
16:26 2019

I AM SORRY

By: Mike Rudon Jr.

This will be my last column for a while. I’m sure this will be unwelcome news to my seven faithful viewers, and I’m not sure how I feel about my decision. I think my writing allowed me to become much more aware of myself. You may think that is a good thing. And maybe it can be. But I truly hated what I found. You know, it is one thing to exist in an alcoholic fog where most weekends are a vague blur of embarrassment and guilt. It’s quite another when week after week you deliberately allow that fog to fade and you are faced with yourself – what remains of yourself.

I hurt a beautiful friend, very badly. She was my rock during my darkest times, and sometimes without saying a word, with just her presence, near or far, she got me through hell. I was a wreck for much of 2018. I was battling alcohol, depression, the loss of my marriage, financial difficulties, family problems, feelings of insecurity and anxiety and hurt and anger and guilt. And through her kind and harsh words, soft and tough love, I made it through – not unscathed, but alive.

Friendship like that is something of a myth, like the Loch Ness Monster. I owed everything to that friendship. It was precious to me. And because of alcohol, I destroyed it. It’s something which lives with me now, and it will live with me for a long time. I destroyed it without malice or intent. In fact, even now it is somewhat of a blur, careless words not fully remembered. I want to say to that friend how sorry I am. And ask her to not allow the monster I became to mar her shine.

We are a destructive breed, we alcoholics. I can’t speak for everybody, because we are different. Some of us appear near-functional. Some of us seem normal. We hold down jobs, and we get things done. Some of us can’t get through the week without a drink. Some of us drink only one day for the week, but on that day we are lost. Some of us need to take a drink in the mornings to stop our hands from shaking. Some of us can be seen in dark corners of bars every weekend, or every night. Others can be seen staggering down highways in the dark. Others can be seen huddled in groups on street-sides or parks, sharing a flask. Still others sleep on the streets in an alcoholic stupor, having lost everything that means anything.

But there is one thing that binds us all together. We destroy. There are people who care about us. I know there are people who care about me still. But we destroy. The things we do, the things we say under the influence hurt people. And that is absolutely wrong. We can’t continue to believe that it is okay to drink because we hurt, and that is the only thing that takes away the pain, if only momentarily. We can’t let our problems hurt others, and let our pain become their pain, when all they did was care enough to allow us to get close.

Are my words reaching you? Do you understand? It is not okay to think that the only person you are hurting is yourself. It is not the truth. We cry and moan and wail and weep because we say nobody understands, and nobody cares, and we are scorned and ridiculed and condemned – yet we hurt those who care. It is wrong. I was wrong.

Would you believe that even as my marriage ended, I told my now ex-wife that she was playing the victim, when my drinking hurt me more than it did anybody else? Of course, I was under the influence, but that does not excuse my abject stupidity, and recklessness.

I am taking this opportunity, in what will be my last column for a while, to say I am sorry. I am sorry for all the distress I caused, the sleepless nights of worrying. I am sorry for the pain, and betrayal and hurt. I am sorry for the careless and reckless words. I am sorry for the genuine friendships I turned away. I am sorry for the stupid, offensive jokes. I am sorry for showing up at your houses drunk, expecting to be entertained. I am sorry for calling you when I was drunk, because I got so needy I wanted to reach out. I am sorry for thinking that nobody cared, and yet time after time after time being toxic to anybody who dared to come close. I am sorry. I am truly sorry.

I am ever hopeful, as I write this with manly tears in my eyes, that there are those it will reach. We need to fix ourselves. We cannot continue to hurt people. We hurt our families. We hurt our loved ones. We hurt our friends. It is not right.

Stay safe. Stay happy. The next time you see this column, my opening sentence will read – I have been sober for 30 days. Pray for me, and for you, and for all of us.

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