I remember driving from Hillside, New Jersey in early January 2010. I dropped off my cat for a sterilization at the local vet clinic. They were the cheapest, so I went there even though it was about an hour drive from home. I don’t remember exactly why, but that was my day off from work. It had to be around 8 am. I dropped off my cat there, and I had until 4 PM to pick her up. I was on Route 22 coming towards Newark airport. Route 22 is one of the most dangerous, if not THE most dangerous roads in New Jersey. Right by the Newark airport the 22 joins and crosses Route 1, Route 9, I-78 and Route 21. It’s a huge fucking mess, so I had to pay close attention to what I was doing. I remember feeling kind of happy, but also nervous. I had to drive to Hillside twice that day, so I had to be sober. I drank only a little bit the night before, so that morning I was in a good condition physically and mentally. What bothered me was that I had like 5 or 6 hours to wait before going back to pick my cat after the surgery. I had no clue what to do. Obviously on the day off like that day I would drink. Couldn’t since I had another challenging drive in the afternoon. I remember that I went to TJ Maxx, or Marshall's or some other store. Killing time, trying to do whatever to keep me from starting drinking. It was tough, I knew at that time that I am an alcoholic, I could not spend several hours of my free time without drinking. In a case like this on that day, I had to force myself from having that first drink. I remember that I drove back to Hillside around noon even though I had to pick up my cat the afternoon. Once I got there I walked around. There is nothing to go and nothing to see in hillside NJ. I just couldn’t stay home because I did not trust myself not to drink even for a couple of hours. That’s how low I was, that’s not normal human behavior. A normal person in mid thirties wouldn’t even think that this could be a problem. Well, I wasn’t normal. I think I made some right steps to regain the normalcy of sober everyday life.
Finally, around 4:00 PM, I picked up Augusta (that was my cat’s name), and went back home. I remember that day also because that was the first time I heard that song by Lady Gaga. I heard her name before on the radio, in the news, on the Internet. No matter what radio station I switched on, every couple of minutes that song was on the air. I liked it, didn’t want to admit it before myself that I actually like this catchy, little unusual, dance song. That’s how my life was — juxtaposition of enjoying and liking a song and trembling inside from lack of drink. Having fun listening to music and being scared and not trusting myself to last even a couple of hours without alcohol.
10 years later I look at this and cannot believe it how I was. That previous me seems like a completely different person. Ten years ago I already knew what I was doing was wrong, it just never crossed my mind that I can change it, not by myself, but with the help of others. A lot of things happened like this, I remember most of them through a fog. That was my life and I barely remember it. Now I’m 46, still have some good years in me. I cannot waste that second chance in life that I got.