If I were to say that 2016 was a banner year for me, the the lie would be so huge that if I told it while strapped to a polygraph machine, every polygraph machine in the Midwest, Upper South, and East Coast would explode. For those of you who don’t know, on January 11 of 2016, I was in a fatal car accident while on my way to Whitestown, IN for work at Amazon.com. Of course, I wasn’t a fatality, but my 1993 Honda Accord with only 119,000 miles on it died so that I could live without so much as a scratch.
I won’t go into too many details, but in a matter of weeks I lost my car, my job, and my unemployment benefits. Amazon denied my unemployment benefits after denying me a 15 day leave of absence where they’d granted the same leave for workers with much less need. I just needed time to secure a vehicle. I made one timing mistake as far as filing. Unemployment made an information mistake. All that mattered was that all the mistakes fell on me. I appealed twice. I was denied twice. A third appeal would’ve cost me $250. It was ironic that the state denied me funds, yet required me to pay for another appeal. The State of Indiana and Amazon.com screwed me out of money that I, alone, had worked 2 1/2 years for. Times turned really dark for me.
Once again, I’ll spare you the lengthy details, but suffice it to say that the only time I wasn’t boozed up was when I slept. I slept more than a koala bear. I ate like a wren, and every time I closed my eyes I saw a group of revolvers firing indiscriminately into my left temple. That was kind of odd because I’m right-handed. Anyway, I was forced to move out of my lovely two bedroom, two full bathroom apartment in Eagle Creek, and into the cramped house on 12th Street where I grew up. My roommate is my 83 year old dad. It’s good, really. We look out for each other.
It’s Christmas Day, and, finally, I’m emerging from the darkness. It’s been nearly a year. That’s much longer than I wanted, but just the amount of time that I needed. I’ve cut my drinking by nearly 75%. I don’t want to stop completely, you know, because I want to have some fun, but that’s no small feat for me since not drinking caused my hands to shake to the point that I virtually had to eat like a dog, the nausea was so intense that I often vomited air, and during the week of my birthday in early December, I slept maybe eight hours. It was white knuckles all the way.
I guess I’m saying all that to say this: There’s always hope. You have to put in the work, though. I work a job that’s as physical as sharecropping, pays just about the same, and for which I’m ridiculously overqualified. I’m working, though. I’m earning income. By the grace of God I’m still alive. By the grace of me, I’m crawling into the light. I’m thankful to me. I’m thankful to my loving, supportive family. Mostly, however, I’m thankful to God. He’s save my life more times than I can count.