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Don’t Give Up On Me

Don’t Give Up On Me
June 28
16:02 2019

By Mike Rudon Jr.

I’m a naturally comical kinda guy, a clown even. I can joke about pretty much anything, mostly about myself. Sometimes I want to run jokes about my sobriety, and about alcohol. Hey, I’ve reached 30 days, let’s go take a beer to celebrate. That sort of thing. Hilarious right? But the truth is that while I am genuinely the funniest guy I know, when I take alcohol lightly or in jest, there is always this voice inside of me which advises me to tread carefully – this voice which says yeah Mike, laugh about alcohol today, but you know who’ll have the last laugh, right?

It’s as simple as that. Alcohol is no laughing matter. I will take my last breath, hopefully naked and in the throes of passion and ecstasy, believing that alcohol is every bit as destructive as any drug. Show me a crackhead on the street begging for a dollar for a hit, and I’ll show you a drunk trying to get a shopkeeper to credit one bad man and a coke and a plastic cup (Em, yes, I’ve done this). Awww hell, who am I fooling? That is classy drunk stuff. Show me a crackhead and I can show you a drunk lying in his own vomit – doesn’t matter if it’s on the sidewalk, or in a plush bedroom…in a seedy, stinking bar or in a premier drinking establishment. Show me a family destroyed by drugs, and I’ll show you ten destroyed by alcohol. Show me a life reduced to ruin by drugs, and I’ll show you a hundred lives ruined by alcohol.

My story is no secret at this point, but if you think you know me, you have no idea. If you think you’ve gotten the whole picture from a few columns, or from seeing me drunk somewhere, or from ridiculously personal Facebook posts, you would be wrong. I’ve shared just a little bit of the horror which is alcoholism. I’ve shared a little bit of the grief, and the pain, and the destruction…the trauma, the repercussions, the anxiety and the humiliation. But there is much that I still hold inside me. As my cousin Jack would say, you can’t handle the truth. Hell, I can’t even handle the truth.

I write what I write, and share bits of myself, because there are many, many people who struggle. I talk to them daily. They come up to me on the street. I see the hopelessness in their eyes. I see the desperation on their faces. They are lost, like I was for so long. Believe it or not – that is up to you – but I was a dead man walking. I had nothing to live for but the next drink. I tried to convince myself that it was all over. If I wasn’t naturally a stubborn, bloody fool who refuses to listen to anyone, even myself, I would probably have believed that it was all over. I couldn’t stop drinking. I just couldn’t.

I write what I write, and share bits of myself, because I want those who struggle as I did, and do, to know that it is never frigging over until your cold, dead body lies six feet under. Today, as I write this on a Wednesday, I have not touched a drink for 31 days. Laugh if you like, scoff if you must, but I am counting every one. And yes, I am unbelievably proud of every day. I was lost. I’m telling you – I was walking around, smiling and joking and having occasional sex and other good stuff – but I was done. Yet, here I am.

I don’t know what made me wake up one day and reach out for help? But I did, and here I am. My mind has never been clearer. I don’t believe I’ve ever felt better. Yes, I feel betrayed because I thought when I finally stopped drinking I would miraculously lose weight and become extraordinarily gorgeous. It didn’t happen. So I’m fat and sober. But it’s better than fat and drunk. And there’s something else. Apart from being a funny guy, I am sarcastic and cynical and skeptical. Nobody could have told me that things would start falling into place, if I only believed in myself and gave myself a chance to be the person I was meant to be. See, we’re not meant to be drunken idiots. We’re not meant to spend all our money in bars and on women and liquor. We’re not meant to get behind a wheel drunk and run over somebody’s child. We’re not meant to hurt ourselves and others and to destroy our families. That’s just the alcohol. It’s not natural. It’s not the natural order of things. It’s not why we’re here.

Maybe I’m not explaining this right. Give me a rum and coke or two or three or ten and I’m sure I could get your attention. Preach on, brother! I honestly didn’t think I could do it. You want to know the truth. Even when I was writing this column, I didn’t think I could stop drinking. But somewhere along the way, I found the strength. You can too. You can, too. Believe me. Thirty-one days, and I can literally count the things that are going right for me, when everything was going so wrong. You just gotta believe. Not in what I’m writing. Or what anybody says. Believe in yourself.

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