Thirteen years ago, I hit my bottom. It was December 12th and I had been awake for the last four days fueled by alcohol and cocaine while roaming aimlessly through Falmouth. I was doing my best to avoid family phone calls and text messages with the hopes of not returning to my parents’ house, but I was out of money and options. I called my best friend, John Furfey, who, like a hostage negotiator, brokered a deal with my folks that would allow me to go home without having to explain my last ninety six hours, at least for that night.
When I first woke that morning in my childhood bed, my immediate thought was - Where am I going to live? My mother had been vocal about my alcohol abuse, warning me that one more bender would result in an eviction. I was 28 years old with the mentality of a teenager. I didn’t have any money saved or a plan, so I lay there depressed, waiting for the inevitable while my head ached from the hangover, which was exacerbated by feelings of futility and anguish.
I heard footsteps slowly climbing the stairs making me feel like a death row inmate about to be served his last meal. Shame, guilt and despair blanketed me more than the down comforter I had pulled over my head. As the door handle creaked I lay lifeless, wishing I were anywhere else.
I felt her inch closer before sitting on the bed next to me as I remained silent under the covers. The expected scolding I anticipated was replaced by my mother’s gentle touch as she began rubbing my back, all while whispering repeatedly, “Everything’s going to be all right.” Unable to utter a word, I began to cry and even as my cries turned into sobs, my mother continued to reiterate, “Everything’s going to be all right.”
My mother was right. Everything would be all right. I began attending Alcoholic Anonymous meetings hoping my fourth attempt at sobriety would be successful. I soon began to look at life through a different lens, with a different attitude, and after my second year free of alcohol, Ted and I decided to write The Running Waves. The story itself is fiction and certainly not an autobiography, but I think that many people can relate to Colin Brennan, a teenager who is self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to cope with the pain of losing two friends.
I always wanted to do more than point someone in the direction of an AA meeting; I wanted to offer something tangible to others who are struggling. The book provides an opportunity to have real conversations about the dangers of substance abuse, and perhaps by sharing my experience, those in a similar situation will see that there is always hope, no matter how dark things seem.
Today, I’m married with two daughters and my life couldn’t be more different than it was thirteen years ago. However, I wouldn’t change my past for anything, for I'm exactly where God wants me to be.