CHAPTER I: Rock Bottom

I never expected him to die.

There were times I thought it would be easier if he was dead. I even admitted it in a very well populated Al-Anon meeting,

I dunno. I guess if I got the call he was dead, I’d be relieved. I know that sounds fucked up, but living like this is too much. I sighed. I picked at my nails.

The room nodded. No one pulled out a pistol after my admission. One woman sobbed.

As melodramatic as some of it can seem, loving an addict is nothing like a movie. There is no hero. There is no music playing in the background to give you a heads up that the tide’s about to change; and even more so, there is no ending.

Addiction either ends in death or insanity, the leader of the group added to my confession.

His daughter had hit rock bottom. Found drunk and raped, with a three-year old at home and an 11-year heroin addiction, she’d finally had enough.

I had always heard about rock bottom. My father talked about it when my cousin robbed a bank. My mother talked about it when our dog kept breaking through our fence, only to return mangled and bloody from his escape. We talked about it in the Al-Anon meetings I went to every Thursday morning. Most of us around the table wished our drug addict or washed up alcoholic would hit rock bottom. We imagined it. We smiled at the thought of it. It gave us hope. It gave us peace.

When I thought about him hitting rock bottom, I imagined him having too much of whatever he was doing. I imagined him sitting at our dining room table. He was crying. He was sorry. And just like that, he was home and everything was fine. Everything was still fucked up, of course, but it was “fine.”

But you know the story already, don’t you? I got the call one day. I got the call that he was in a coma. He was “dropped off by a friend,” but alone once I answered the phone. The doctor described the bed sores. She calculated the percentage of survival. She was ordering more bloodwork. She would know more then.

And so, after the toxicology report came back, she called me again. She told me she hated to deliver such bad news. I sighed again. Picked at my nails. He was past the point of rock bottom; but I was well on my way.