Upon getting released from that hospitalization, I wanted to take some time off and figure things out. But because of the costs incurred from my hospital stay, and the fact that I felt like I should be contributing to my family, I scheduled myself to go back to work ASAP. As I waited for my doctors to sign off on my mental ability to go back to work, for my HR department to approve my request for return, and for the details of my return to be ironed out, my anxiety continued to grow as the return date approached. The thought of walking in the front doors and facing my co-workers, friends, and peers was more than I could handle. Though at this point I still hadn't really come to understand my alcoholism, I had worked for 8 years in sales and management at a major liquor and spirits store. I think I probably knew, even at this point, that returning to work in the beverage industry was probably going to significantly deter my recovery, but I was desperate to get my normal life back. So, I assured everyone I was ready, put a smile on my face, and quietly disappeared into my own anxiety and misery while counting down the days until my return. The day before returning to work, the anxiety had reached it's peak level. I decided that drinking would be the only thing that could get me through the anxiety, so I went on a bender.
I cannot remember how much I drank or even exactly what I drank during the day, but it was enough for me to pass out and spend my entire day in a drunken slumber on the couch. My drinking was not to have fun anymore, it was to escape. I was scared to go back to work. I was scared to talk on the phone, interact with other people, or even go outside. I drank so I would pass out and dream. In my dreams, I was free from the burden which was/is my life. Unfortunately, there were times when I would wake up. The Breaking Bad marathon I had planned for the day was five episodes ahead of my last memory. After taking the dogs out, I was faced with the stark realization that my last day was ending before going back to work. I could no longer hide in my condo, with the lights off alone. I couldn't stop shaking and I felt as if my heart was pounding out of my chest. Melissa was going to be home soon and my world was going to end, because I knew I would have to tell her I couldn't go back to work.
Melissa had bought a bottle of white wine with a dachshund on it. She hadn't intended to drink it, rather display it in an endearing manner on our bar as only an owner and lover of a dachshund would. I didn't care that it wasn't meant to be consumed, or that it would upset her that I drank it, or really about anything other to calm down. But even after drinking that decorative bottle, my anxiety was still there.
Melissa got home, and she busted me, again. She was very calm and was proud of me for being truthful about drinking. She even called my friends to push back our fantasy football draft that was scheduled for the evening. I couldn't have felt any lower. Earlier I had drank some alcohol my nephew (who lives with us) had left in the fridge, and I was very concerned that he would be upset with me for drinking it. Melissa saw my anxiety, and agreed to go to the store to replace it for me so I would not feel so bad. But her understanding made me feel worse. I think I just wanted her to leave, so I could go back to feeling bad, on my own.
I don't think I intended to kill myself. I think I was just...done. I was too tired to fight. As soon as she was gone, I went into the bathroom and took a handful or so of the pills that my psychiatrist gave me to help with moments of extreme panic. I then made my way over to our bar and drank as much gin as I could. I flopped back down on the couch and that was it. I have glimpses of what happened next, but nothing concrete enough to be a lucid memory. I woke up in the ER. I had an IV in and no clothes on besides a hospital gown. My wife wasn't there. I cried...an I had no idea what time it was. Around six am I came back around, and she was there. This would be the second time in three weeks I would end up hospitalized. I wanted to die, and I had to face that I had tired to harm myself the night before. I wanted to escape to the dream world that existed when I was passed out. I was tired of feeling like a failure, living in fear. I had been isolating for a week and I was over it. Life held nothing more to me in the way I felt at that time. Going to the hospital again is still, despite other things that have occurred since, still my bottom to this point.
Want to read Melissa's side of the story? http://www.lifeimpaired.com/2/post/2014/02/things-that-stop-you-dreaming.html