A year ago I was back in the psych ward. Fifty one pills of Lorazepam taken during a blurry three hour window and a 911 call from my roommate at the time effectuated my return. And I was angry. Angry to be back there less than six months after my first stint, angry because I felt like no one was listening to me, and angry because I felt like no one believed me. And even though I wouldn’t admit it, I was probably angry at myself.
Looking back, it’s amazing how near-sighted I was. The 911 call that my roommate placed probably saved my life. But that was the last thing I was going to admit back in April of 2013. Kicking and screaming all the way to the hospital, I was convinced she was the crazy one. But in the year that’s elapsed since I took that ambulance ride, a lot of details about that night have come into a sharper focus. A few months ago, when I was still in rehab, I remembered a detail about that night that night that my denial had conveniently suppressed. When the cops came into my apartment to escort me to the ambulance I was in my bedroom, ready to call it a night. My roommate and I had gotten into a screaming fight and I was ready to surrender to sleep and forget about it all. On my nightstand there was a bottle of Nyquil waiting for me. Not my preferred brand of cough syrup at the time, I preferred Robitussin because, unlike Nyquil, there usually wasn’t any alcohol added to it. But that night all I had was the Nyquil.
When the police walked in I was sitting up in bed, in the dark, with the bottle in my hand. And had I drained that bottle, as was my habit at the time, I probably wouldn’t be here today to write about it. The dose of Lorazepam I took, fifty one milligrams, is pretty close to lethal by itself. But add alcohol to the mix, like the alcohol in the Nyquil, and I probably never would have woken up.
Thank God my roommate cared enough about me to make that call. She told me that she had decided she’d rather lose my friendship than lose me. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m where I am today because of the courage and strength of the people in my life that cared enough about me to save my life even if it hurt my feelings. A relationship can always be mended in the light of day but I might not have made it to dawn if she hadn’t picked up the phone to make one the hardest phone calls of her life.
It’s strange to be able to look back on this night with the clarity of five months sobriety. So many things in my life have changed, a lot of things didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to, and I lost a lot of good friends along the way. But now I can look back on that night and be grateful for all the ways that I was saved.
Looking back is certainly bittersweet, like a lot of things that have come with my sobriety. The year between April 15, 2013 and April 15, 2014 hasn’t been an easy one. And there are still a lot of things in my life that I have to make right. For now, all I can do is pay it forward, and thank the people in my life who were stronger than me, by staying sober—one day at a time.