It has been almost 36 years since I was discharged from the US Navy. I was quite lost back in those days. All I owned were a few civilian clothes, and my dying Chevy Vega. My dad gave me that for Christmas, in exchange for my 68 Ford Falcon. I would have been better off with the Ford.
Before I went into the Navy, I went to college, where I majored in Music, Clarinet at that. I lived in the city, as I was going to a Community College and there was no on-campus housing. I might have fared better if I had been able to live on campus.
I rented a room not too far from school. I only had to take one bus, that went right by the intersection that I lived quite near to. There was also a bar on that corner, but I only went there to purchase cigarettes in those early days. They didn’t check IDs and I was still 17.
When I started going to this bar to drink, it was bad right from the start. It was as though I had no off switch or fullness gauge. I would get drunk to the point where the bartender wouldn’t serve me any more, then make my way back to my little room in that little house. It was easy enough to find as it was the first one on the right side of the street.
I continued to go to classes, do my homework, and practice my clarinet. I received good grades and made the Honor’s List my second semester.
To avoid going back home for the summer, I took a geology class to fulfill my science requirement. It was a 2-week trip into the rocky area of southern Illinois. It was a great trip, and I did well.
Back to my little room again, I started subjecting myself to abusive relationships, ones where I had no control, and was subjected to rape on a regular basis. This was the only way I knew. I started drinking a little more, and then a lot, and then all the time.
By my fourth semester, I was no longer attending classes, but still managed to continue my clarinet lessons, until one day when I was too drunk to put my clarinet together for a lesson. The teacher, who was also my adviser, gave me the name and number of a therapist on-campus, but that did not help. If anything, it made things worse.
I got involved with someone who was 37, and I was 19. We both drank and this relationship did not last long. Out of money, I had to throw in the towel and move back home – back to that house that was filled with memories that haunted me day and night.
Needless to say, I had to leave there, so I joined the Navy. I got out of the Navy in 1980, and I was so messed up, I didn’t have a place to call home.
It is now almost 16 years later, and where am I now? I do have a place to call home, and it feels right. I decided to quit drinking one month before I moved into this building. I lived in the same apartment for 16 years. I was diagnosed with a list of illnesses, and can not work.
I finally moved into a handicap accessible apartment, after eight years in a chair, dents in the doorways and appliances, and scrapes and holes in the walls. Since I moved I have not run into any doorways or walls, and have not put any dents in my appliances. I did break the glass on the front of my oven door, after being here for only two days.
I am now settled in, but where am I really now? I don’t go out except for appointments. Even a trip to WalMart is hard. I missed a bus a half hour ago. I now go to therapy every other week, which does not make me very happy.
Where am I now? Does anyone have any possible answers, or do I just continue to sit here with my laptop, from the time I get up, until I shut it down and go to bed. I forget to take medications. I can’t be bothered with cooking and often eat one meal or less a day. Why? Where am I now?