By the summer of 2010 I was in a lot of trouble and it was iffy whether or not I'd see the autumn of 2010. My "partying "-- which is usually the code word for "substance abuse issues"--went on for a decade or two longer than it should've and I was getting sicker and sicker.
I'm not ashamed to say that I was hitting bottom. No girlfriend, no job, no real friends, no music--just a whole lot of nothing.
I was living in Rosendale and I remember one Sunday morning sitting on a bench smoking a cigarette by the bakery in that strange indescribable vacuum when a couple in their their thirties pulled up with their pre-school aged children. I remember wistfully thinking how I shut myself off from ever having a life like that. I remember trying to convince myself that I wasn't missing anything but stress and drudgery and I remember not really believing it.
Another week went by and my health plummeted. I called a taxi to go to the hospital and they told me an ambulance was coming to take me to Albany Med. The wall of denial that I cleverly wrapped myself in was beginning to crumble away. I needed emergency surgery as soon as possible.
As I laid in the back of that ambulance for that hour, I thought about a lot of different things. The decisions I made all my life that resulted in where I was at that moment. I wondered if I was going to die.
But then my thoughts shifted to that couple by the bakery. I thought if they pulled me through, I'd get clean, I'd meet someone, I'd eventually learn to do something I could make money at. Maybe start a family.
Yup. If I survive this, I thought, I would never look back.
I did survive and I never looked back.
After having a year clean I began dating Lea and I was so in love and just happy to be alive and clean. At two years clean I went to truck driving school in the daytime and drove a cab at night. Lea was pregnant with Gloria. At three years clean I was a new father and doing ok as a new truck driver. At four years clean I got a truck driving job in Newburgh and no longer living in a truck-Lea was pregnant with River. At five years clean, I earned more than 70% of the US population. And here with almost six years clean, I have designed a life that was at one time a dream I did not have the audacity to think about.
People from time to time ask me why I work 70 hours a week driving and then play as many gigs as I can. But if they knew where I came from and how far I have traveled, they would know. Try to imagine what it feels like to go from near death to the ability to single-handedly support a family. The flood of emotions I feel from time to time when I stand back and look at everything is intense.
So when our house becomes a cacophony of baby cries, toddler whines, dogs barking, puppies running around chaotically, Lea's mom trying to discipline the puppy, Lea trying to discipline our three year old and a Disney movie playing in the background, I just close my eyes and think, "Ahhh...this is the life."