The Ultimate Gift…


They say an Alcoholic never drinks alone. That doesn’t mean we always find a companion to drink with. It means that when we drink, those who love us suffer right along with us. We become walking Tornado’s and we destroy everything and everyone in our path. Of course we do not see it that way at the time. We all hit our bottoms in very different ways and unfortunately, for some of us, death is our bottom. If we don’t hit some kind of bottom, we don’t get sober, it’s as simple as that. Sometimes in the mist of sobriety we get busy and tend to forget the details of the shit we put others through and how strong their love for us must have been not to give up. Looking back, I really have no clue how anyone put up with me. I know that had the situation been reversed, I surely wouldn’t have. I would’ve been gone. Sad but very true. Of course I didn’t realize how bad off I was until AFTER I got sober but everyone else saw it for years prior and STILL hung in there with me.

There are a great many people I’m blessed with that stuck by me through what I have come to refer to as my “Dark Days” If I wanted to be rigorously honest, I could even go so far to say I was the kind of person nobody wanted to be around and was disliked a great deal. Is that an exaggeration? Not even a little one. I have put in the work to stay sober over the past four years, but I wouldn’t have even gotten there if it weren’t for the selfless act of this individual. Had it not been for this individual, I would most likely still be very much in denial and either still deep in my addiction, or dead. Like with a great many others, I put her through absolute hell along with everyone else. We had our extreme ups and our even more extreme downs. When I say extreme, I truly mean extreme. They say you hurt the ones you love the most, this individual wasn’t an exception to the rule. Her name is Miss Vanessa Lopez.


Now I’m not saying that Interventions don’t work, through my research, I’ve come to the conclusion that they have a high success rate. However comma… being the way that I am, I doubt very seriously one would have worked for me. If anything, it would have made me feel backed into a corner and I have no doubt I would have come out fighting. To say it would not have been pretty would be the understatement of the century. LOL I guess the hurt that I was causing my wife was the last straw for Vanessa with regard to my drunken stoopers and she made a decision that ultimately not only saved my marriage, but saved my life. She knew me enough to know that a standard “intervention” would not work for me. She knew that it would have to take something extreme for me to open my eyes and see the truth before I would even consider the fact that I might have a problem. It was for those reasons and much more, that after her and my wife had to drag me out of the truck because I was so drunk I couldn’t walk, she pulled out the ultimate weapon…..The video camera.

I have absolutely no memory of anything that I was watching on that video the next day and not only did I find it horrifying, I found it unbelievably sickening. I honestly did NOT recognize the person on the screen. My face was swollen, my hands were swollen, I couldn’t hold myself up in a sitting position. My eyes were so glazed over it’s a wonder that I could even see out of them. A definite Jekyll & Hyde meets Sybil. It was that final act of love that forced me to pull my head out of my ass. I say final act because I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that had I went on drinking after that, everyone including her and my wife would have had no choice but to cut me loose and walk away.


Although I never forget how I got here, I sometimes forget that it truly was an act of love. That’s something I never want to forget. Not everyone needs such a push to get sober, some actually hit their bottoms on their own or they realize they have a problem before they have to hit a bottom. That was not the case with me. Being sober has changed my life in so many ways, however I never want to forget that it was Vanessa who gave me the ultimate gift that night, she gave me the gift of choice which ultimately is the same thing as giving me the gift of life. To say that I am eternally grateful would be an epic understatement. Not everyone is as lucky to have people like that in their lives while they are in the mists of their addiction. There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful for the fact that I have been truly blessed.

AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist

Dec. 3, 2014

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