“The Child Returned the Favor”
I was born in Harlan County Kentucky: Part of the country where my ancestors made quality moonshine. At 10 years old, I was outside with some kids and I came into the house where my parents were fighting. I tried to pry them apart. Dad beat me and I ran. Some big kids found me. We drank and smoked pot. Reality went away.
After that experience, I sought out chemical salvation often. I drank and drugged at every chance. I was not a connoisseur: More like a kind-of sewer with drugs and alcohol.
When I was 17, plotting my escape from the confusing life of childhood, attending my second High School – I dropped out and joined the Navy.
At 33, my drinking and drugging had taken a complete nose-dive: Crashing out of the fantasy friendly skies. I was consuming as much as I could every day. In late 1989, I had my annual physical and the doctor called me a walking miracle and a functioning alcoholic. I got offended at being called an “Alcoholic.” Then on January 27, 1990, when the chemicals had stopped making reality go way, my local bartender asked me if I wanted to keep drinking or go to a Recovery meeting. She gave me directions to a meeting and I went.
TERROR – BEWILDERMENT – FRUSTRATION – DESPAIR – Those hideous Four Horsemen visited – yet again. The DT’s visited – yet again.
My Four Horsemen were like spiders in the dark crawling all over me. Skin was clammy! Skin cold! I was shaking so grave I could not eat. I locked myself in my office and wanted to stop the mental pain, but could not bring myself to pull the trigger. After four days, I went to my boss and he said, “I have been expecting you”. In two days, I was in my last treatment center. When I arrived I was so angry, so scared, that I felt more lost in life then ever before.
My daughter was going to come to visit me at the time. I had to call and break yet another promise to her. Valerie did not get mad at me. Valerie did not act sad. All she said to me was, “That’s ok, Daddy, I love you and I am glad you are finally going to get well”.
I cried. This was the first time that I ever heard unconditional love from anyone.
The child I gave life to returned the favor.
By Guy Lewis, Payson, Arizona:
Thank you Valerie Lewis