In Attempt #4, I successfully quit drinking by going cold turkey. I just stopped. I manned up and did it on my own. Who needs professional help. I got this! Three days later I was drinking again. I figured that if I am man enough to quit cold turkey, I can certainly manage my drinking habit moving forward.
I resumed my work in Pittsburgh and my weekly ritual. Leave the house at 2pm on Sunday to drive to the airport, work at the office Monday through Thursday, get on a plane Thursday for the return trip, say high to that guy on the plane, and drive home. I usually got home around 2am Friday morning and would get up for an 8 am meeting. As I write this I realize how crazy a schedule that was. But then… I wasn’t the only one with that schedule. All of the consultants I worked with had a similar schedule. So its not like I was an exception.
After a few weeks I started to spiral out of control again. I hated work. Life was overwhelming. I was just drinking way too much. I found myself in a state of deep depression and considering suicide. I was tired of the struggle. I was tired of disappointing everyone in my life. I was just tired of life.
One night in Pittsburgh, at my hotel, I found myself staring at the little bottle of blood pressure medication I had sitting on the counter. I wondered what would happen if I just swallowed all the pills in it. Would I just fall asleep and never wake up? Would I get sick? Would I be in pain? I cried. I went to sleep.
A couple of days later, I found myself contemplating the scenario again. But then, inn the back of my mind, I heard the councilor say “you have to show that you mean it. You have to show that you are really going to hurt yourself. A gun. A knife. Something to show you have a plan and are going to really hurt yourself.”
It was a strike of lighting. I picked up a knife off the counter and called 911.
“I am about to commit suicide” I said.
“Sir. What is your plan” the operator said.
“Well… I have a knife in my hand and I am going to cut my wrist.” I told him.
He kept me on the line and asked my a bunch of questions I can no longer remember. But I do remember how it ended.
“Sir. Do you still have the knife with you?”
“Of course I do.” I said.
“Where are you right now?”
“I am in my bed.”
“Can you put the knife down on the bed and move to the couch?”
“Well sure.” I put the knife down and moved to the couch. This was weird. I was really drunk and thought he was just playing with me.
“Are you on the couch now?” he asked.
“Yes I am”.
“Police! Don’t move.” a man shouted as two police officers came in with flashlights drawn on me.
“You son-of-a-bitch” I said to the 911 operator and hung up.
After some back and forth the officers managed to get the lights on. One officer approached me where I was on the couch while the other looked around.
“How are you doing? You are not doing so well are you? What’s going on?” the first officer asked.
“I’ve been better. I am a little sad.”
The second office said to the first, from the side of the bed, “Bill! Its a fucking plastic knife!” He was holding the plastic knife in his hand.
The first officer looked at me with surprise. I put my head down and said “I am not very good at this.” I had ordered Thai food for dinner and the delivery included napkins and plastic utensils. You know, like any food delivery would do. That’s what I had, that’s what I used. Again, I am a problem solver.
They spoke to each other for a little bit. I didn’t hear what they were saying but they were obviously deciding whether or not to bring me in. In where? I had no idea. In the end, they decided to bring me in.
I woke up in a waiting room. It was a big waiting room with about 20 people in it. I was still drunk. I managed to ask the person next me “Where am I?”
“You are in Western Psychiatric” the nice lady said.
“No. I mean what city are we in?” I asked.
“You are in Pittsburgh” she said. I was supposed to have left Pittsburgh that morning to return home. I first thought I had gotten lost on my way home. Then I started to remember what had happened the night before. I relaxed. I had did it. I was finally going to get help. I fell back asleep in my chair with a smile.