Looking Out My Back Window #299

Originally posted on Facebook HERE

There was a point in my life when I was an absolute mess. I drank a lot, I did drugs, and in general I wasn’t very happy about my life or who I was at all. I didn’t love myself, I wasn’t crazy about life in general, I treated other people poorly, and I let my choices be guided by my ego and whatever mixture of drugs and alcohol I was on at the time. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to live at all. And life… well, it’s Easter, right? Life gives you a chance every day to be reborn as something new if your path up to this point hasn’t been all that great. But, looking back at what got me from here to there – wow. It’s an insane story. On Thursday the 12th of May, 1988 the band I was in played a show in Oshkosh where I met a woman and went back to her place after – now, I was living with another woman at the time. This wasn’t all that unusual for me back in the “sex and drugs and rock & roll” period of my life. This woman I met on Thursday was having a college graduation party that Sunday and invited me – I knew my girlfriend at the time would be out of town, so I accepted. The next night – Friday the 13th of May, 1988 – was a night that was destined to change my life forever from that point on. I got arrested for driving drunk and thrown in jail. That entire story in and of itself is somewhat incredible, but this will be an extremely long post already so I won’t tell it here. The next morning, my girlfriend had to pick me up from jail and wasn’t all that happy with me at all. Saturday the 14th the band had a gig – I had totaled my car the night before, so they picked me up. I got home late, woke up late on Sunday and headed to the graduation party. The woman I met that Thursday was busy running around – it was her party – so I started talking to another woman and decided to leave the party with her. Then I decided to stay with her until the following Tuesday, returning home to get some things and tell the woman I had been living with for three years it was over and I was moving in with this new woman now. That wasn’t a great conversation. In the meantime, my car was totaled, I was walking everywhere, and I had an assessment coming up from the OWI to see what I needed to do to get my license back. I told my new girlfriend I had already been through the class they give to drunk drivers (it was my 2nd OWI) so all I had to do way lie my way through and I’d get my license back. She said, “well, if you have to lie your way through, maybe you do have a problem with alcohol”. Now, not many people would say something like that to me back then. But she did. And – she was one of very few people who could say it to me and have it catch my attention. So I was sorta kinda honest – let’s just say honester than I had originally planned to be – at the assessment. They decided to put me in a different class where we were all alcoholics, all court ordered, and it was meant to have us take a look at our drinking and drug use – which basically nobody was willing to do… except me. The counselor was great. I stayed after a lot asking questions. And at the end he recommended outpatient treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. My new girlfriend was instrumental in me going forward with this. I doubt I’d be clean today had I not met her when I did. And I began treatment on Nov 1, 1988. Within two weeks I had lost all my desire to ever use again, and I’ve been sober ever since. But the story doesn’t really end there, either. My new girlfriend became my first wife. She took a job in Milwaukee, and we had to live in the city limits. I was selling vacuum cleaners at the time. I did a service call for someone, and stuck a sticker on her vacuum with my name and number on it… in 1992. A couple months later, my first wife and I split up and I moved back to Oshkosh. In 1994 I was made the manager of the Milwaukee office, and a call came in from the vacuum cleaner person I serviced in 1992 – she needed bags (we delivered them to your house back then). As manager, I was to give calls like that to my sales force… and I had a guy living in that area. When I tried to give him the call he hemmed and hawed so much I told him, “forget it – I’m taking the call, selling her a new vacuum and rubbing it in your face tomorrow”… which I did. And – again, leaving a LOT out here… that woman turned out to be Laurie Geschke. What did it take for Laurie and I to be together today? Thursday, May 12th, 1988 – play a show, leave with woman #1. Friday, May 13th, 1988 – drunk driving charge. Sunday, May 15th 1988 – woman #1 has a party, I leave with woman #2. Tuesday, May 17th, 1988 – end current relationship – woman #2 now my live in girlfriend, who helps me see I have a problem with drugs and alcohol. Nov 1, 1988 – quit using entirely. 1992 – move to Milwaukee, put sticker on vacuum. 1994 – back to Milwaukee, salesman refuses to take call from vacuum stickered in 1992, so I do it instead. 1998 – I marry woman #3, and we’ve been together ever since. Life… what a ride. What seems like a bad thing can often lead to the greatest moments of our lives. Everyone you meet plays a role. And decisions made years ago will often affect everything in your life from that point on…

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