The Send Off

VINCE

There are so many bad choices I’ve made in my life. But I am ready to break free of my old habits. Nine days until I commit myself to positive change, 189 days til freedom.

My second to last court appearance in June last year was a contested omnibus hearing where I finally decided to just make a deal. I was sick of my life and ready to go to prison. It happened a little faster than I thought it would, as I’ve written before.

I left the courtroom knowing that I had eight days left of freedom. Instead of using that time productively I went about my usual routine. Little did I know there was a plan in the works to leave me broke and broken.

Three days before my sentencing, I was robbed at knife point by three people that I thought I knew. They cornered me in a room and told me to empty my pockets, waving around a very short and wide knife.

You may not think of that as too much of a threat. But a person wielding a one-inch knife is ready to use it more quickly than a six-inch knife because it wouldn’t likely produce a fatal wound.

So I emptied my pockets and the one with the knife sucker punched me in the eye. As I turned around he punched me again, in the same spot. That really hurt.

They all called me some names and then left. Their goal was to steal my truck and leave me stranded but fortunately the ignition was broken, and they could not figure out my homemade tweaker [meth user] ignition featuring a light switch for toggle and a doorbell button for the starter switch.

I got up. In a daze I walked to the bathroom. I had a huge black eye. My nose was bleeding and my ego was shot.

They took about $1,000 combined money and drugs from me. It was all I had. But even that didn’t stop me. Nothing ever really did. I knew then that I needed to be locked up, in prison or chained to a radiator, it didn’t matter. I knew I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t. My name is Vince and I’m an addict.

ANNE

I received a postcard from Vince. Between it and him writing, “I’m an addict,” I felt hope for him for the first time in 10 years.

Hola,

One week away! I’m looking forward to a new life. Again.

Thank you so much for all your support, and hard work. It must be tough at times. I love you very much and I’m happy we have become so close.

Love,

Vince

But was it real? There’s an old joke:

Q: How do you tell when an alcoholic is lying?

A: His lips are moving.

Vince writes about how many days til boot camp…how many days til he’s free…then he can start to change his life. I’m a firm believer that you can change your life now, regardless of whether your circumstances. That work can only be done inside your head, using cognitive behavior therapy, meditation, and other techniques. If you don’t know how to do it, as I didn’t for many years, you’re stuck. Physical fitness and self discipline are great, but I really hope this boot camp thing helps Vince figure out how to rewire his “stinking thinking”, as they call it in AA.

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