Wishing I Were Dead

My twenties ended with a suicide attempt. I had fractured my knee months before in a car accident and was “enjoying” a phase of increasing laziness and lethargy as I dampened reality with pain killers, Xanax®, vodka, and Jack Daniels. Using insurance settlement money, I bought a yellow FZR600 crotch rocketcrotch rocket – a Yamaha FZR600 – upon which my friends and I repeatedly cheated death with so much blackout riding. I quit another promising job – this time it was American Homepatient in Brentwood – so I could wallow in misery fulltime. My depression, the apparent root of all my problems, went from generally tolerable to downright beastly. I thought I’d nothing to live for, so I planned my exit. It was going to be good for everyone, I thought, because I seemed to do nothing for anyone but cause pain, break hearts, and spread disillusionment & an array of other bad vibes. One Sunday afternoon, I collected around 320 one-milligram Xanax pills and a fifth of Jack, left someone a note where my body could be found, and proceeded to one of my favorite hiking spots in Nashville where I got drunk and swallowed fistfuls of those blue benzos. I woke up a couple of days later in Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

After a hellish week of being locked up in Vanderbilt’s VITA ward, my mother took me by my apartment on Edmondson Pike to pick up some things. She bore horrified witness to my first benzo withdrawal seizure. I woke up at Southern Hills Medical Center, a nearby hospital. As it turns out, the doctors at Vanderbilt did not see fit to administer any detox meds during my stay there, and my system revolted eight days after the Xanax overdose.

My head soon cleared and I returned to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. I was done with drinking and using, I thought. A kind man gave me a shot at a decent computer support job at his printing company in the Melrose area of Nashville. Sometime around the three-month mark, my doubts returned as to whether or not I was truly an addict or alcoholic. One of the few memories I have about that job is an alcohol-fueled out-of-town convention during which several colleagues amusedly pointed out that I had my shoes on backwards. There I went again.

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