December 23, 2016 has to have been my luckiest day ever. My stupidest, too.
I’ve been a drinker since I was a kid but kept it under control for most of my years, until the early to mid-2000’s. The stress of work initiated my increased drinking. It ramped up in February 2006 when I lost my Mom. My wife and I were building a house outside the town where my mom lived and we were to move in the fall.
Late May 2006 I had a car pull out in front of my motorcycle, one morning on the way to the school where I worked. I wrecked the bike avoiding hitting her broadside. I came out of that with a shattered ankle and badly bruised body.
My wife had to drive me down South to interview for jobs. I secured one and moved in with my Sister and Brother in Law in July, as our new house wasn’t ready. My wife had to finish her 20 years with Target, so she could pull retirement. We were staying in my Mom’s house, so there were her memories, my pain, the loneliness of my wife being 300+ miles away, and the stress of a new job on crutches.
Although my Sister and her Husband shared the house, many times I would come home to emptiness. My constant companion became alcohol.
Things really got bad in 2010. I had moved over to a new school and the experience was horrible. In fact, my last year in public schools ended when I was rushed, by ambulance, to the ER with stroke like symptoms. It was all the result of stress. I semi-retired at that time.
My drinking escalated and I spent many a day drinking from morning until I went to bed. This caused many an issue with family. I became a mean drunk and my poor wife bore the brunt of it. We both drink, so it fueled the fires.
I ruined a number of family gatherings and had my wife, kids, and kids in law expecting the worse. We tried some therapy, which helped a bit. I took a part-time job at an auto parts store, but that didn’t stick. Yep, the drinking was still a problem.
In 2013 I had begun to pull things together and was doing better. I even took a job at the local junior college. I was counseling, advising, and teaching. In 2014 a double bypass changed things. I retired completely in 2014 after having surgery.
I’ve had ups and downs with drinking since then, mostly doing okay. I don’t spend days drinking like I used to and my tirades have all but disappeared. For the most part, the negatives have been the hangovers, the disappointment I cause my wife, and the guilt.
Things went BAD on Dec. 23. I had a couple of drinks around lunch, then a bit later took the motorcycle out for a ride. That was stupid decision #1. I wasn’t feeling the effects of the alcohol and enjoyed a nice ride in the country.
Stupid decision #2 was stopping at a little joint for a beer. I only had one and didn’t feel impaired when I headed down the road. The bike was running great and I was enjoying the temps and the ride.
I was running a bit over the speed limit when stupid decision #3 came to be. I thought, “I wonder if this thing will do 100. It did, with no trouble. The trouble began when I chopped the power.
The sudden deceleration caused a high-speed wobble, which I could not ride out of.
I crashed a few seconds later. I’m not sure how fast I was going, but believe it was about 80, maybe 70 mph.
Luckily I was the only one on the road at the time. Neither the bike or I hit anything other than the ground. Lucky, indeed.
The bike and I came to a stop. I never blacked out and was able to get up, with a bit of difficulty, and get the bike up and started. A passing motorist helped me back it toward the right direction toward home. I thanked him and headed home.
The bike rode fine, despite the damage and got me home. My wife rushed me to the nearby hospital where I was then sent to a larger hospital in another town. For some reason, before heading out, I pulled out my wallet, and my gun holster off of my belt. To my dismay, I discovered that my handgun was not in the holster. I had lost it in the wreck. Stupid decision #4 was taking the gun on a motorcycle ride, without a secured holster.
Long story short. Cat scans and x-rays revealed no broken bones and no internal injuries. I had a laceration on my left hand and elbow, and road rash in a number of places, as well as some good bruises. In telling of what happened I shared that I had been drinking.
I was shocked to hear from the doctor that my blood alcohol level was above the legal limit. I never imagined that it was that high. I was released and we made it home a bit before 1:00 am, Christmas Eve morning.
I wasn’t given pain meds, probably because of the alcohol in my system, so my wife and I had a couple of drinks before we climbed in bed. Surprisingly, we slept okay for about 5 hours.
After coffee and waking up, we headed out to the crash site in search of my hand gun. Lucky again, we found it amongst the debris. Fortunately for me, the passing motorist didn’t look around and find it, or anybody else for that matter.
As you can see, I am VERY lucky in that stupid, stupid situation. I didn’t die, I wasn’t badly hurt, and the law didn’t come into play with my drinking and driving, nor did I end up having to report the loss of my gun.
Once again, though, I’ve screwed things up. The family is mad at me, I’ll have medical bills to pay, and now I have the cost of putting the motorcycle to almost good as new.
Now, I’m going to have to figure out how to keep my drinking in check and not eff things up anymore.
Well, I have a second chance to do so. I am lucky.
Yep, I was lucky. Very lucky. Very stupid, too.