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Happy Happy Joy Joy

Happy Happy Joy Joy
May 10
14:43 2019

By Mike Rudon Jr.

I woke up after one a few nights ago, alone, sweating, racked by guilt and loneliness and despair. There was this song playing in my mind, over and over again like a demented jukebox on repeat – you left me just when I needed you most. I don’t know where the hell that song came from. I haven’t heard it in many years, and had to look up who sang it. But it was there in my head. It’s this band Smokie, just in case you were wondering. Not that it matters.

Anyway, as I lay there, I wondered about contentment. Who is the least content? The alcoholic who doesn’t know he’s an alcoholic so lives in this little happy happy joy joy bubble confident, bottle in hand, that he has things under control? Or is it the alcoholic that knows he is an alcoholic, but doesn’t give a damn? He has accepted what he is and is okay with it. Or is it the alcoholic who functions, works, lives and loves and who struggles and falls and gets up and struggles and falls again and again and loses and gets up and falls and gets up?

Ask me? Ask me? You know, I’ve been doing this column for a long time now. And I am a writer. I’m good with words. But I’ve never been able to describe the darkness which lives with a drunk who struggles to be the man he knows he can be. You see, I am a man who can write speeches for leaders, and I have. I am a smart, politically savvy, conscious, acerbic and witty person. I’m a decent journalist, a better than decent editor. I can function. I can work. I can be an incredible father, a good friend. An amazing lover (okay not true I just pushed that in there – Editorial privilege). I know what normal feels like. I know my potential. I like people, sometimes. And people like me, sometimes.

But I also know the darker side of me. The person who is toxic and obnoxious and deadly, the person who will forget to pick up his kids because he met some friends by the riverside and started drinking. I know how it feels to make wonderful, beautiful plans on a weekend, and wake up Monday with the whole weekend just a sour, sordid blur. I know what it feels like to plan my life in minute detail, and to make one idiotic decision which destroys it all. I know what it feels like to sit drinking in a dirty bar, when there is a clean bed and love at home. I know what it feels like to destroy friendships and trust and relationships and love. I know. I know alcohol.

I believe there are very few people who can understand the despair which lives in the mind of a struggling alcoholic. One who knows he can be better – all he has to do is not drink again and everything will fall into place. But one who knows that he has been down this road before, with determination and resolve, and somehow ended up back where he started.

Every single day, I remind myself of what I’ve lost. And I remind myself of what I can lose. I need to. But that is a hell of a lot of negativity. And then, of course, there are still those persons who are not content to see you down, but feel it is their purpose in life to destroy you. Yes, there are those people. And in the middle of all that, you realize that you are at a stage of your life where if you change now – like this minute – you can get your life in order by 2099, give or take a couple years. No joke. Many, many times it is a battle just to smile. To have a positive thought.

Because to get to okay – not to great – but to okay lies up a mountain which reaches to the sky, without roads or trails or handholds, and it is guarded by ogres and Mike-eating trolls. And I’m fat and I can’t climb. Cause I’m fat. You see my dilemma?

But still, I try. It is not easy. And you may see me fall. And you may see me falter. But I am telling you I will never give up. And I don’t mean this to be a damned dirge. I’m not feeling sorry for myself. But I’m trying to encourage my own fat self to climb that stupid mountain and to be all I can be.

Cause if not – the only thing left will be acceptance. And then, that will be the end for real. The End.

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