I married in 1967 and cut back on my drinking. In 1968, I joined the Armed Forces. The Vietnam War was raging at the time and I wanted to do my part. After a period I applied for Special Forces and subsequently accepted. One year of hell later I graduated. My first assignment was the Republic of South Vietnam. I saw and did things that I can not talk about, but I will tell you I certainly drank over them to forget.
After the first tour, I returned for a second tour. I was addicted to war and chaos as much as the booze. I stayed in after the second tour and was reassigned to various parts of the world. I separated from the service in 1978. That is when the nightmares began. I fell deeper into the bottle in order to numb the pain. The ghosts in the closet were still there. I just drank myself into oblivion to pass out.
In 1984, my wife divorced me. She could not take the mood swings or my drinking. As you might guess I drank more and blamed her for my misery. We had two sons at this time. My oldest son came to live with me, as he and his mother did not get along. He used to see me drunk in our apartment. I would sit in the dark watching war movies, drinking, wearing my uniform, and clutching a rifle. He stayed in his room most of the time.
I reached a bottom in 1990; after an all night binge, I ended up in a hospital dying of alcoholism. I was desperate and frightened. I attended meetings with my friend John, with whom I had known since 1980. He was sober and I wanted the peace he had in his life. My oldest son, now 18 years old moved out of my apartment and went to live on his own. My youngest son continued to live with his mother.
I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada with John and worked there as a cab driver. I continued my old behaviors but without drinking. I dropped tourists in "rip-off" sex houses and took money for it without feeling guilt. After all, they were only tourists! I even ran errands for the sex houses.
At one time, I was a limousine driver for a brothel in Parump, about an hour drive from Las Vegas, taking clients to and from the house. A friend of mine in Las Vegas called me one day and told me his wife had been murdered. Her drug dealer boyfriend had murdered his wife. I went to his location and told him I would protect him and his young son.
The circumstances of her death were mysterious and vague. That night we rented a suite in a hotel and I took on the job of bodyguard. After a few days we put his son on an airplane with his aunt to return east to be with family. My friend was required to stay in Las Vegas thirty days to claim his wife's body. We rented a place outside of town and waited. Wherever we traveled, I was in my soldier mode carrying a firearm to protect my client. I was back in the war! I believe we were followed a few times by the people responsible for his wife's death, so we changed cars and took evasive driving measures. I had put that bulls eye back on my forehead. I was enjoying the danger. One more time I was that soldier in combat. It did not matter to me if I lost my life protecting this man.
After the thirty days were up my friend claimed his wife's body and took her home. He asked me to come back with him and continue my assignment. I declined as I was beginning to have second thoughts about my safety. I was forty-five years old. The years had slowed me down. I returned to the Los Angeles area. I went to work and began a normal life. In 1995, I met a young lady at a meeting and we became friends. Yes, I said friends. This was a new experience for me, as I would normally try to talk a woman into bed rather than be her friend. She was new in sobriety and I had developed scruples by this time.
It was at this time, I began my spiritual journey. One day I was driving and an overwhelming sense of peace overcame me. I began to cry! I hadn't cried since I was a boy. The military taught me to be tough. Soldiers don't cry. I felt I needed to be closer to the God who I did not understand. I had a spiritual awakening. God touched this mean and unfeeling soldier.
In 1996, my mother was very sick and dying. She told me that she had six months to live. We talked for a long time and I made my amends to her, we cried and that was the last time she was able to understand what was said to her. She died eight months later. At the funeral, I was asked by my father to deliver a eulogy written by my oldest son. I did not want to do that but I honored my father's request. You see my son had been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. He turned out just like me, the drinking, the violence and arrests. I had a tremendous guilt trip over that. My friend John explained to me that my son was a creature of free will and he had choices. He made the wrong one. I was not responsible for his actions. I had changed, my son had not. My friend Angela and I fell in love and started a relationship. She was one year sober.
A few months later Angela found a woman sponsor in the twelve-step program. This woman was to be an Angel sent from God for both of us. Doris was a lady who had many years of sobriety. She had a simple relationship with her God. She called Him her kindergarten God, her friend, her best friend. Her philosophy was responsible for both our spiritual relationships today. This woman was loving and genuinely spiritual.
Doris made her transition in 2001. There are times I feel her presence, like now as I write about her. She said that death is the Emmy we receive for living life. She was a wonderful woman and I miss her. When my mother passed away, Doris took her place. It is as if I lost two mothers. I know they are with the Creator and are now one with God. My mortal being misses them.
I have changed for the better. I no longer hate. I am at peace with myself today. God has become my best friend and buddy. I turned my will and my life over to Him. Angela and I are happy together.
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