My worst 24 hours

VINCE

I’ve been free for a week now, and I have written very little. I decided to take a look in my treatment folder for some inspiration, and I found it right in front. This was written by me early on in treatment nearly six months ago. It’s a story from a long time ago, when I lived in Richfield. It is true to the best of my knowledge. My memories aren’t always clear, and the incident occurred while I was very near a blackout. I’m not proud of this particular incident, but I wrote about it because it had a substantial impact on my life, and the treatment assignments required an honest look back on the terrible times I put myself through. I will type it as it is. Here goes….
The worst 24 hours of my life occurred all the way back in the year 2000. 15 years ago I was in the worst alcoholic stage of my life. Drinking all day every day when I wasn’t working. My habit was supported by my girlfriend who worked as the manager at a liquor store and could steal anything I needed, which was a lot.
Cupboards well stocked that same girlfriend of two years left me because, well, I was a horrible drunk piece of shit boyfriend. She packed up while I was in jail for a D.U.I. warrant, fortunately for me, she left all of the alcohol. It took me three minutes to assess the situation and then I began drinking. Oh, I was also in the process of being evicted from our apartment. Based on those two things, I went into destruction mode. Something I am well known for is doing really dumb stuff when drunk….
I started by going into the laundry/storage room, looking for something I could use to make a mess of things. I saw some ceiling paint and the ideas started forming. I saw a few things I wanted to bring back across the hallway into my apartment for decoration. A huge drill, a fire extinguisher (I’ve never seen one work), and the paint. Before I left that room, however, I decided to fuck up the washing machines and dryers. I put a gallon of paint, equally into the two dryers and started them on high heat. I decided not to waste any more paint so the washing machines were spared. I know I can’t remember everything from that long ago, but I think I left the room at that point.
Back in the apartment I fixed myself a classy drink. What that means is I didn’t use a glass or a mixer. Straight vodka. I had finished half of a 1.75 litre bottle. I found out what fire extinguishers do. They make a lot of noise and fill the room with a cloud of powder. I opened up a window, then realized people driving by might mistake the escaping cloud for a fire. I closed the window.
I assume this is where most writers would transition. Not me. I got the idea to start a little fire of my own so I went into the stairwell and lit the cord for the sliding drapes that must have been 15 feet tall. It really didn’t do too much but after some waiting, the individual sections of the plastic curtain began falling down. Cool! The fire never got big or at all out of hand, but the falling curtains did make a lot of noise and there was some smoke and a tenant came out into the hallway to check it out. Mind you this was pretty early A.M. She saw me and I mumbled something and ran back to my apartment. In less than five minutes I started hearing the sirens. Shit, two fire trucks and an ambulance and of course, a police car.
I knew I was fucked so I really started hitting the bottle. I’m talkin bout hammered drunk. Things are starting to get blurry, both back then, and now as I try to look back.
After who knows how long, there was a knock at the door. I opened the door for the officer and gestured for him to come in. He knew that I knew why he was there. We sat in the living room where I had not yet done any damage. I don’t remember how the conversation went and I got up maybe five or six times to have another swig while he was asking questions and I think at some point I said I lit the fire.
In my mind I formulated a plan of escape. On my next trip to the freezer for a drink, I zigged instead of zagged and left through the front door and up a short flight of stairs to the rear entrance to the building. With no shoes or socks on I ran like hell. For about ten feet. On my third or fourth step, I shattered my left ankle and immediately went down. I crawled around to the side of the garage and around the back and hid under a car to wait out the cop. I never know if he actually looked for me, or just left
After a bit I started walking down to a gas station through the back side of houses and apartment complexes. The plan was to call for a ride. Somewhere along the way I met a nice man that gave me a pair of boots. I must have looked like a lunatic. I got to the station and used the phone then went into the public restroom to wait.
After 15 minutes I decided to bring the bathroom key back inside. Coming back to the side of the building, I heard tires screech. The cop pulled right up to me and got out. I tried to run but couldn’t. I made it two steps when I was tackled to the ground by the huge police officer. He punched me in the ribs and yelled, “Nobody runs from me!” And that is when somebody pissed in my pants. And off to jail I went.
In the end I was charged and convicted of 3rd degree arson. Sentenced to five years’ probation, and sat in the lockup for 60 days. I was never charged or even asked about the destruction in the apartment other than the fire. It was a horrible day in my life. I’ve had many bad days, but that was my worst.

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