Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Until You Remember

I don't know how I didn't stress over it the few weeks before I left, maybe it was the stop over in Louisville that kept my mind off of it.  I wasn't even thinking about it as I read the signs passing by, the miles peeling away with each passing minute.

"Cincinnati: 90 mi"

"Cincinnati: 50 mi"

"Cincinnati: 20 mi"

I'm doubting you would remember that distance, you never were good with directions, but it was the distance from the I-275 bypass exit onto I-71 headed up toward my old place.  It hit me hard right when I saw the sign for the airport and only got stronger as I grew closer.  Every mile marker on that fucking freeway had some memory of things we had said or done together.  Telling you about the now finished hospital building that I had shipped steel to when it was being built.  Having you nearly naked in my front seat as we passed the Reading Rd. exit.  The feeling I in the pit of my stomach as we would hit the off-ramp at exit 5, knowing that in just a few short minutes nothing would be between us.  Holding your hand for dear life as we drove through the blinding rain to send you back on that fucking plane.

I remember all that shit, same as I did when we visited together.

The difference is now I have to remember all this on my own.  I drove past my old place on Dana Ave., the one we used to make the bed on the floor in, the one I fell in love with you in.  I wanted so badly to pull into the parking lot and sit out on those three steps where we used to smoke together.  Tears already clouded my eyes and I figured I would be better off just passing by.

I could go on and on about all the places I saw your face in, I just don't feel like rehashing that hurt again.  Suffice to say that I saw you everywhere, even in places where so many other memories were born...you took over all of them.  I knew the second I crawled into the spare bed at TJ's house that I was fucked.  I remembered exactly how it felt to have you there next to me, proud as hell that you loved me.  It's no wonder I spent the whole weekend drinking and smoking.

Then again, that is what you wanted to hear...right?

I saw you so much in that place that I could not bear to handle "life on life's terms."  The only thing I could think to do...want to do...was numb the feeling of you out.  Like I said, this is what you wanted to hear, right?  I keep getting the feeling inside that deep down you want me to fall flat so that your decision to ditch me is justified.  That being said, I truly have no fucking idea what you want for me...you won't even speak to me.  Makes me wonder if you're going through the same thing I am.  Am I really alone in this hurt?  Are there nights when you think about me as much as I do you?  Do you ever wake up thinking I'm lying next to you like I do you?

I don't know and I know I never will.

I don't really wonder why you left me, I would be a fool for doing that, I wonder if it hurt to do so.  You damn well know it hurt me, I just wish I could know that I made enough of an impact that you still think about me.  I remember all of the reasons why I fell in love with you, everywhere I turn I see something that reminds me of you.  What I really want to know is if you think about any of the reasons why you fell in love with me?  Do you ever remember me fondly?  Do you ever miss me?  Do you think of me as a waste of your time?  Do you think of me as nothing but a morally weak addict and liar?

Things without an answer, right?

I hope that someday you remember the good things about me.  I hope someday that we will speak again, that I will get a chance to tell you I'm sorry and hear your voice again.  I am holding out on such a stupid and unrealistic hope, something my head clearly knows but my heart doesn't.  I'm not stupid, I just want to know if you remember.  Do you remember me like I do you?  Do you care what happens to me?  Will I ever speak to you again?

Am I the only one of the two of us that feels this pain?  Am I the only one who misses you?  I've never felt so alone.  I miss you Nic.  I wish I didn't but I just can't help it.  Please don't forget me.  I know I'll never forget you. 

Monday, November 28, 2011


I decided to kill myself a bit over two months ago.  I don’t know right now what I was thinking and what my motivation was, but I wanted to do it.  There was one thing…person who held me back.  I thought about her, looking over my grave, unable to forgive me for what I had done.  That thought right there made me turn around and check myself in.

It sure is ironic now that she wants nothing to do with me and couldn’t care less what happens to me.  If I died tonight when I went to sleep she wouldn’t shed a tear, let alone know that I left this world.  Amazing how she totally defined my world.  I would have done anything for her, anything and I probably still would.  I could not bear hurting her…and so I turned that car around.  

Tonight I sat out on the back porch of my cousin Leslie’s house smoking a cigarette and thinking about that afternoon.  I thought about all the people inside this house who actually love me, not ones who just say they do.  Why weren’t they the ones I thought about when I made that U-turn?  I can only see it now, but why didn’t I think about the people who have loved me and proven it when I made that fateful decision?

I was blinded by the “love” of a woman who told me she would never leave me.  Les told me a story yesterday that really hit me hard, a story about when she and her husband got together.  He had back surgery only a few months before they bought this beautiful house that I am in right now and had been given a serious prescription to painkillers.  It seems almost needless to say that he became addicted to them.  Les told me about how much of a mess he was and how she thought about leaving him so many times…but didn’t.  She told me that they had invested too much into their relationship and that she couldn’t possibly walk away from him, she cared for him too much.

I sat there wondering why I was not granted the same favor.  Why was I not good enough for the woman I loved to stand with me when I needed her the most?  I finally realized tonight why my normally passive and quiet brother says he would kill her if he ever saw her again.  She left me in my darkest hour.  She ran because it was the easiest thing to do.  She told me she loved me but would not be my rock when I needed her the most.

So I thought again about that U-turn and why I thought about her instead of the family that would love me no matter how far I had fallen.  They cried when I told them how badly she had crushed me, I could see my brother gritting his teeth.  You see, there are people in this world who will love you for who you are…no matter what.  There are also people in this world who will say that they do but don’t mean it, they will run when the going gets tough.  I am finally realizing the difference.

I may be without the one I loved, but am never without the ones who love me.  I wouldn’t trade that for the world.  I know she loved me; it just hurts to realize that she did not love me enough to stay with me when I needed her the most.  She could say it all she wanted…it just wasn’t the same.    On the other hand, my family never have to say it and yet I know anyways.

I am thankful for my family.  Thankful for those who actually love me, not who just say they do.  I am thankful to be done with the pain and betrayal that was New York.  Thankful to be back in a place with people who care about me no matter how far I fall.  Thankful to be with people who see the good things about me that I cannot.  Thankful for my family, the ones who truly matter.

Thankful that I now see that.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's In The Pudding, Dumbass

"There is one thing more than anything else that will defeat us in our recovery; this is an attitude of indifference or intolerance toward spiritual principles."

This is a passage from one of the readings at the beginning of every Narcotics Anonymous meeting.  It is one I have been struggling with since I first entered (was forced into) the program.  More accurately it is something I have been struggling with since I became old enough to think for myself.  I have always believed that there was something greater than myself working in this world, guiding me through this life...I just didn't know quite what.

I'll be completely honest when I say I still don't have a fucking clue.  They call it the "God of our understanding" at meetings, but my sponsor wisely calls it "the God of my misunderstanding."  I guess I am not so good at accepting things that I do not understand.  The trouble is that right now I am completely lost.  I have no idea what the hell I am supposed to be doing, let alone why I have to endure this heaviness in my chest.  I guess that is the definition of "the God of our misunderstanding," isn't it?

A friend suggested that I keep a "proof" list, a list of ways that I see something greater than myself working in this fucked up world.  I started last night with my writing about how her letter to me was a hell of a sign.  Tonight I want to document one more that has been on my mind a lot since I have returned to Wisconsin, you might even call it proof.

When I got back into town, completely heartbroken and defeated, I went back to work at the meatpacking plant that I worked at growing up.  Needless to say it was what you might call...well...fucking demoralizing.  Every time I was there I thought about her and how far I had fallen, for fuck's sake I was working here in high school!  Just a month ago I was making a good salary, living in Brooklyn and engaged to a beautiful and smart woman.  Look at where I am now...

I came in one Saturday and it was just me and my uncle (who owns the place).  We chatted for a few minutes before he asked me to pick up the garbage in the front lawn and cut the grass.  The first thought was, "fucking awesome, I won't have to work in the freezer," and I grabbed some imitation latex gloves and headed outside.

The thing about the plant is that it is located smack dab in the middle of the worst fucking neighborhood in Milwaukee.  I  headed outside and started picking up the ridiculous amount of trash in the front yard on that warm fall day.  I got about a quarter of the way before I bent down to pick up a coffee cup.  It was covered in dirt, obviously there for a long time, waterlogged to the point of near disintegration.

I bent down to pick it up, not paying attention as I reached my hand down for it.  As I lifted the cup up I noticed something sticking straight up at me from the grass, a hypodermic needle.  I felt the wind leave my lungs.  I sat down in the grass, completely terrified at how close I had come to Hep C or HIV or something fun like that.  What the fuck?  I just came an inch from getting stuck by an AIDS needle, that shit was just too much to handle.

I threw the needle out onto the street and cut the grass, angry music blasting in my ear-buds.  I didn't think much more about it, but for some reason it kept popping into my mind.

I went to a meeting that night at the psych facility in a posh little town by my parent's house and could not help but thinking about that brush with infectious disease on the way there.  I was clean for the first time in a long fucking while, thoughts seemed so...real.  Why did this encounter happen?  What did this mean?

I walked into that meeting and realized what it meant as soon as I planted my ass in the chair.  My addiction is always waiting in the grass, ready to prick me and send me down the same old path if I am not paying attention.  What else could I see that as but proof that something somewhere is trying to tell me something?  How naive could I be to think that was just a simple coincidence.

I don't believe in fucking coincidences.

I suppose this is another notch on my "proof" list.  Proof that something greater than me has a hand in my life, something my stupid ass addict brain cannot control.  Something I have to open my eyes to see.  Strange because for so long I didn't want to believe that something was taking place beyond my understanding.  Strange because it is something I have to take my fogged up glasses off to see.  Strange because now that I have them off, I see better than I ever have before.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

An Answer

I was outside on the back deck a few minutes ago, watching the tail end of the Sunday Night Football game through the living room window while I smoked my cigarette.  I had been thinking for an hour or so about the next post I was going to write, "Hell Hath No Fury," about how I wondered if this suffering I am feeling right now was her revenge on me for the hurt I caused her.  I looked up to the sky and I asked (pleaded) something along the lines of, "what does this mean?"

I went back inside, sat down and turned on my computer all set to write yet another post that would send me to bed depressed.  I went to my reader and saw that there was a new post I wanted to read by someone I follow.  I felt tears welling up in my eyes when I read the first line:

"Dear ez cheese,"

At first it reminded me of a time when someone else whose blog has long been deleted wrote to and about me, that memory hurt.  After a few lines I realized it was something written by someone who does not know me but has felt this pain and wants to see me relieved of it.  It is a feeling I am still unable to put into words. 

There is a line that struck me in that post, "You truly start to believe (and, eventually, trust) that there is a Higher Power and a plan for you, for me, for her, for him."  The "Higher Power" concept is something I have truly been struggling with as I wade through the muck and mire.  I grew up believing but came to have that belief shattered as I grew older and things started to get bad in my life.  I know now that an indifference to spiritual principles will hinder what little recovery I have gained to this point.  Correction, it is something I know in my head but have yet to understand and accept in my heart.

I asked the above mentioned question and looked around as if a fucking bush was going to start on fire or some lighting was going to strike out of the sky.  It didn't happen, I flicked my smoke and walked back inside wondering why the hell I even bothered.  Then I found this letter, written to me, and I realized that I had my answer.

This is my opportunity to fix the shattered definition of a life and to bring happiness into my world.  I have finally started to come to terms with the fact that I am never going to get her back.  Notice I use the word "started," I use it on purpose.  I can say it as much as I want, "I am never going to get her back," see I just did it, but I know it is going to take time to believe it.  What is going to take even more time to believe is that I will someday gain the happiness that I have always missed out on.  The catch is I'll only get there if I work for it. 

It takes a lot of conversations with my boys, support from my family and reminders from friends I barely know to keep me on track.  I find myself truly grateful for all of them but for right now I am grateful for my first "A."

An answer.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Things Without an Answer

It has been like this every night for almost two months.  I just can't seem to forget and I'm beginning to wonder if I ever will.  I wish these thoughts didn't paralyze me every day, but then again I wish for a lot of things. 

Mostly I wish for a fucking time machine.

When the sun is up I think of her but I seem to be able to pass the thoughts quickly.  I hear the TV turn on and it plays the same tune the one in our apartment did.  I put on the Rangers sweatshirt her parents bought me for Christmas.  I watch the old shows we used to watch together.  I don't do these things because I miss her so much, I do them because they are part of me now.  When the sun is up I find it much easier to send my mind in a different direction.  Right now is a completely different story.

She comes to me as I try to close my eyes and sleep, something that seems to elude with me each passing night.  I truly wish I could let go of this but I seem to be unable.  There are too many questions that remain and always will remain unanswered.  My mind seems to rekindle the hurt in my sleep.  Funny how you wake up from a great dream (like winning the lottery or something) and then go back to sleep and it is gone.  Funny how you can wake up from a nightmare about being in a hospital and getting shitcanned and then go back to sleep and it picks up right where it left off. 

I don't know if this is part of the process of dealing with the pain of a loss so great as this.  I don't know when, if ever, this wound will not be so raw.  Mostly I hate all of these "I don't knows" that come over me when I hit the hay at night.  I hate that I wish I could go back in time and do everything differently, but the fact is that I wish I could and I can't change that.  She told me once she hated that I had such a power over her, a power over her heart.  I guess I can only laugh when I think that she has much more power over me than I ever thought anyone would.  Well, to be quite honest, I can't laugh at it.  I can't even cry over it.  I fear I would never stop.

I often wonder if I am the only one out of the two of us who feels this hurt.  I wonder if I am the only one who lies awake at night thinking of the one they used to love.  I suppose I shouldn't lie and come right out and say "the one I still love."  Again, I hate that she still has this power over me.  I wonder if she has found someone new, I wonder if she is looking and then I cringe at the thought that I let her slip through my fingers.  I lose sleep thinking about everything I did wrong and everything I had the chance to change. 

It seems I always come back to the one moment when everything came crashing down around me, the phone call.  I remember hearing her voice, so grateful that I had someone who loved me regardless of the fact that I was in a psych ward.  Every night.  Every night I relive the question I asked her...

"What time are you coming to visit tonight?"

"I'm not."

It never seems to end.  The questions never seem to answer themselves and I am beginning to think that they never will.  I go back to all those nights that I cried over how lost I felt in New York and all the times she was my only comfort.  The one I moved across the country for.  The only one I ever considered asking to be my wife.  The only one I ever truly loved.  My questions always remain the same: what is she doing, how is she feeling...does she miss me like I miss her?

Things without an answer.  Things I will never know.  A woman I loved like I never thought possible.  A woman who does not want to speak to me again.  So many questions.  So many answers I will never get.  So much hurt to swallow each time the alarm goes off.  So many questions and so much pain.  Never had I loved like I did with her and never have I hurt like I have without her.

Another sleepless night. 

Things without an answer.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What the Hell?

So I met this girl today when I was out with my friend Dave watching football.  She was crude, vulgar and telling dirty jokes...needless to say I was smitten.  That's the fucking trouble though, isn't it?  I have gone and made this little promise to myself that I wouldn't get into any kind of relationship.  The thing is, I hung out this girl for the better part of three hours.  Three fucking hours, that's it.  It wasn't like I've known her for months or anything. 

What the hell?

I guess this is what my return to being single holds for me, falling for every girl who so much as bats an eyelash at me.  I'm thinking I might be better off putting saltpeter in my eggs because this is ridiculous.  When I got home I fucking looked up the makeup place she owns and found a picture of her.  Now that shit is just creepy and not something I've ever done before.  I was honestly kind of disgusted with myself.  Am I really back to this high school type bullshit?

Then I have the other side of this new little adventure I am unwittingly going on.  That would be the "I can't stop thinking about the girl who broke my heart" side.  I am getting sick of pining for her every fucking night.  A few days ago my dad could see it was getting to me and told me something his dad told him a long time ago, "best way to get over one is to get under another."  I had to laugh, not just because he said it but because that very concept has been seriously fucking with my head.  I know that old adage works to an extent, I know it because I have done it before...a few times.  I also know that it could wind up throwing me right back down on my face.  I sure as hell need to learn how to be single and to be comfortable with myself but I sure as hell miss having someone. 

I am one co-dependent son of a bitch, aren't I?  What the hell?  I can't believe I'm actually writing this, much less going to post it.  It's like I'm sixteen all over again.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Graduation Day

So my insurance company decided that I am both sane and not an addict anymore, I didn't realize that shit had a cut off date.

I "graduated" from my intensive outpatient program yesterday and have finally finished up almost two months of treatment.  I don't really know what to say about it, I don't feel any different but maybe that is the point.  I went to a meeting tonight at the hospital where I did my treatment and the staff brought up a bunch of the "no shoe crew" (inpatients) to join the meeting.  They said the typical shit that most newcomers have to say at a meeting.

"I did this this and this and the cops did this this and this and now I know I have a problem."

"I feel like this is the beginning of something new for me, I am never going to get high again."

"I had just hit such a bad rock bottom that I knew I had to change."

I guess you should probably pardon me for being such a pessimist, but that sure as fuck wasn't the way I felt when I was inpatient.  It was more like, "When the fuck can I get out of this fucking place and smoke a goddamn cigarette?"  I don't know maybe that was just me, but I always wonder how many of them are being forced to go to these meetings and have some sort of "awakening" while there and then go back and plan out how they are gonna buy a bag when they get out.  Again, call me a pessimist or an asshole if you must...I never claimed to be anything else.

The thing is, I truly do want to see them at meetings.  I want them to get their lives in order and realize all the things that the program can do for you when it is properly followed.  I sure as hell ain't perfect and I've had my fair share of fuck ups, but I know I want it...I just hope they do too.  I hope they realize that it is going to get so much worse if they go out and conduct more "research and development."

The time came at the meeting to share.  I had honestly gotten quite fucking sick of hearing the, "I had a gram in my pocket and a bunch of rigs in my glove box," stories when I decided to say something.  I figured I would talk about graduation.

"I graduated from the inpatient program here just yesterday."

They clapped for a second before I told them to hold it.  I got the usual "what is wrong with this asshole" looks I get from time to time.

"So like I said, I graduated.  All the people in the group told me what they liked about me and wished me good luck and all that shit before they gave me a little coin with the Serenity Prayer written on the back of it.  I'm not gonna lie, it felt good to hear them say these things about me, that they see the strength I can't see in myself and so on.  The thing is, I left there feeling vulnerable."

They looked at me kind of strangely. 

"The truth of the matter is there is no such thing as a 'graduation day.'  You don't graduate from addiction, you don't graduate from sneaking around and you sure as hell don't graduate from being a liar.  The real fight begins when they don't have you pissing in a cup every day and you don't have the structure of a forced recovery program.  This shit is on you now.  You don't graduate from addiction, you can only fight it, study it and learn about it.  Know your enemy.  Know that you can not fight this disease unless you understand it and recognize how it shows itself in your life.  Know that you very well might fail but know that you can't give up so easily.  Did you give up when your first guy didn't have the shit you needed to get high?  No, you went on to the next one.  Just remember...you will always be fighting this battle.  We only protect what we have through vigilance."

"Thank you Patrick," they said before continuing on with the war stories.

My sponsor came up to me at the meeting and said something along the lines of, "Well didn't you learn it all overnight?"  I told him that wasn't the case, just that I saw a bunch of people in the room who wanted to want it but didn't truly want it yet.  The newcomer doesn't need a bunch of bullshit thrown at them, they need someone to be honest and brutally so if necessary.  They need to know the truth: you aren't gonna be normal ever again.

You...no...we will fight this battle until the day we die.

We only protect what we have through vigilance.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Sweet Forgiveness

There is a song that I had been listening to a lot when I first moved home.  "Sweet Forgiveness" by Susan Tedeschi was listened to quite a bit before that as well, most often after I had fucked something up.  It talks about someone who has done wrong but has their lover there by their side, supporting them with love and helping them move on.  I thought for a long time that I would always be forgiven by her but I was wrong.  I stopped listening to that song a few weeks ago because it had become too painful.  I had no one to forgive me and the pain of that realization was too much to take.

I've got this fortune cookie saying that I keep in my wallet which reads, "the first and only love is self-love."  I guess I kept it because I knew it meant something, I just did not know what.  Every time I would open my wallet I would see it and think about what it meant to me.  I had heard the old adage, "you can't love another without loving yourself first," plenty of times in my life and I just brushed it off.  I did love someone and I sure as hell wasn't so in love with myself so it didn't seem to apply much to me.  I would often times be lead to another thought when I saw it, "maybe because I didn't love myself I didn't love her in the way she needed to be loved."  Again, a thought too painful to think.  I considered getting rid of the little slip of paper but for some reason never did.

I went to a meeting tonight, my usual Monday night one, which normally is a meeting on one of the twelve steps.  I was a little excited when they said that we were having a topic meeting instead and that we would be discussing the topic which an old-timer named Kurt had chosen.  He opened his mouth and as soon as the words "Self-Forgiveness" came out I knew there was someone somewhere that was trying to tell me something.

He asked that when he turned the topic over to the group for discussion that we concentrate our "shares" on how we had gone about forgiving ourselves for our past indiscretions.  I sat there listening and realized that I didn't know how I went about forgiving myself which led me to the conclusion that I never really have.  It seemed so clear to me that what was hindering my recovery, my love life and my overall happiness was my inability to love myself; a condition brought on by feeling guilty for everything I had done and the people I had hurt in the past.

I started thinking about how I had tried to atone for my sins and realized I had been beating myself up about each one of them for as long as I could remember.  I guess deep down somewhere I had always thought that the way to make up for my errors was to destroy myself emotionally so that I felt the maximum amount of pain each time and would therefore be conditioned to avoid such hurt in the future.  The problem was that I was fucking high every time I went through this process.  High because I did not want to feel the extreme level of torment I had become so efficient inflicting myself which, something that in the end made me feel even worse.  Sooner or later, after enough suffering, I would go back to my old friend self pity which got me right back to getting drunk of high and making the same mistakes I had fallen victim to time and time again.

I listened to that Susan Tedeschi song on the way home from the meeting and for the first time I found a different meaning in it.  I can't rely on a woman, a friend or even a parent to forgive me for what I have done in the past.  No, there is only one person whose forgiveness really matters in the long run: my own.  You see, the first and only love is self-love.  It all seemed to click so suddenly but in the same instant seemed so unattainable.

How does one who has been beating themselves to the bone over every mistake go about changing their frame of mind and cutting themselves a break?  That is something I just haven't quite figured out yet, but is something I know I must learn to do if I ever plan on being happy again...or for the first time.  I really quarrel with the notion of not crucifying myself after I have fucked up.  I know it is a foolish and detrimental way to deal with my past but I know no other way.  What is for certain is that I must find a way to take it easy on myself.  I am my own worst critic, as most of us are, but I need to learn to be my own savior as well.

No forgiveness matters as much as my own but finding out how to get to that point is proving much more difficult than I ever imagined.  I know I have to start somewhere but I just don't know how.  I'm hoping that the answer will make itself clear with enough thought.  I know it is in there somewhere.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

On Trauma

For a while I thought my little bout with PTSD was caused by this incident on the left.  I did end up being jumped in a parking lot mercilessly by three men and then having my face completely reconstructed after all.  The more and more I go through therapy, however, the more I realize that this illness has been plaguing me since I was young.

I started talking about it in group this morning and was describing how I used to clear my apartment at gun point and how I would keep it loaded under my bed.  I used to take it with me all the time, regardless of where I was.  Then I realized that I was doing that long before I ever got jumped.  I started thinking about this pattern of behavior and realize it began to take its hold on me during adolescence.

They said I was an angry kid who couldn't concentrate in class.  I was constantly getting in fights, disrupting class and quarreling with authority.  Of course the standard therapist M.O. at the time for kids acting out was none other than Ritalin.  I hated it, it made me feel like a different person in all the worst ways.  It was able to curb the class disrupting, but couldn't seem to stop the fighting.  I fought my way through grade school and into high school, losing a great majority of them.

I was nothing short of depressed when I got to high school, nerdy suburban kid in a gigantic city school who didn't fit in.  I didn't fit in until I discovered pot, that is.  Sooner than I expected, I was buying bags constantly and getting stoned as many times a day as possible.  I realize that now I was using it to cope with the things happening in my brain that I did not yet understand.  The same can be said when I got into heroin, cocaine, hallucinogens and pills.  I was fucking stoned on something almost every waking moment of every single day.  Before too long I didn't feel much of anything at all.

I moved to Cincinnati for college so that I could get away from all the drugs here, I truly wanted to clean myself up, but the drug use just followed me there.  I was having a lot of trouble dealing with the pressure of school and the homesickness that accompanied it and before too long I was fighting again.  It seemed that almost every fucking Monday I was coming into class with a black eye or cut up knuckles.  It only got worse when I got jumped at a music festival here in Milwaukee one summer break.  The kids broke my cheekbone completely in half; turns out that night would come back to haunt me for a long time.

When I graduated and my relationship with my first serious girlfriend broke up I went off the deep end.  I started getting paranoid all the time, thinking everyone was plotting against me.  I bought guns and got a concealed carry permit, I was rarely without my Springfield.  I sat around at home a lot drinking so I wouldn't have to think about all the shit that I had done and that I had endured, trouble is that only made it worse.  It was around that time that I began to re-live the sexual abuse I underwent as a child.  I began plotting ways to find her and kill her, I was getting out of control but I was too blind to see it.

Then I met someone, completely by accident, and everything changed.  She genuinely cared about me, wanted me to stop using and helped me "deal" with some of my demons.  I was still living on the edge, but once we met in person for the first time things slowly began to change for the better.  Or so I thought.

It happened on the first of December.  I pulled into the gas station before work in the morning and apparently had "driven too close" to some jaywalking piece of shit on the street.  He and his buddies decided that it would be a good idea to punch me in the face and then proceed to stomp my head into the ground as a bunch of fucking dickbags stood by, watched and did nothing.  I remember when they let me go, seeing the blood pouring out of my face as I drove the half mile back to my apartment.  I remember being completely consumed by rage as I loaded my AK-47 and prepared to go back to the gas station with the intention of killing every single person there.  I only stopped when I saw my eye hanging out of my head, it was time to call an ambulance.

I moved to New York City not long after that to be with the woman I loved.  For the first few months everything was perfect: I got a job quickly, we got a beautiful apartment and our relationship was going well.  I felt like I had finally stepped out of my shadow, not realizing that it was slowly working its way back into my soul.  It started with the nightmares, awful terrors in which I saw the people I loved kicking my face in at that gas station.  It continued at work where I was extremely aggressive to the point that it got me suspended twice.  I was drinking and smoking constantly and the fighting was getting worse at home.  I was lying to my therapist who diagnosed my PTSD and abusing the benzos they had prescribed me for anxiety.  I was coming apart at the seams, but I was too scared to admit it.  I ended up in a psychiatric hospital where I was so cruelly dumped on the phone.  Just another trauma in a long line of them, something they call the "kindling effect."

You see, when I came back to Milwaukee the nightmares got worse, I had them again last night as I do most nights.  I can't fucking sleep anymore regardless of the fact that I am so tired I can barely function during the day.  I'm having flashbacks that I can't get out of my mind.  They haunt me constantly, tormenting me the most as I lie in my bed.  I see her face in my dreams, laughing at me as I fail again and again.  I cry out to her but she only turns away laughing.  I see her and her family stomping on my head at the gas station.  I see her ambushing me at Summerfest.  I see her touching me and holding matches to my face when I was a little kid.  I see all of my horrors personified by her in my dreams and yet when I wake up I miss her so.

Just another trauma in a long line of traumas.  Just another mountain I can't seem to climb.  Just another event preventing me from healing.  A heart so broken, battered and abused that I wonder if it will ever love again.