I was weak, and this post scares me


I hardly know where to begin because I’ve made no secret of my past or my history or my afflictions or mental defects or whatever the hell you want to call them, so I’m just going to start since it is still fresh is my still somewhat addled brain.

I fucked up.

Someone should have seen it coming.

I should have seen it coming.  It’s been no secret that I’ve been down at the lower end of my depression lately despite the medication that I probably should have been taking more often than when I remembered to.

But it happened.

I don’t remember when I bought the first beer.  Or the next.  Or the vodka.  All I remember is that I was low.  Lowest I have been in a while.

I had been riding pretty high for a while.  Things were going good at work, whether it was just a program or not, it was work, and I was damn good at it.  The people I worked with wanted to keep me.  The nurses I took care of wanted to keep me.  I had been at that building since the doors opened and set it up from scratch and I had it operating like clockwork.  When people needed something, they skipped over my boss and looked for me instead.

My boss asked for extensions to keep me there longer.  My bosses boss asked the same.  I had/have jobs lined up and waiting for me at the main hospital, but they are stuck in the black hole that is Human Resources.  A situation that the program that I was in was well aware of, but still refused to give me the extension.  With all the nurses, doctors, bosses and everyone else that had my back . . . one man held me back.  One man that could grant the extension as he has done for many others before me.

He refused.

In fact, not only did he refuse, he called my boss right in front of me, asked him how many hours I had for the week and when he told him, he simply said, “He’s got enough.  Tell him he is done and to turn in his badge.”

This was on Thursday.  The rat son-of-a-bitch wouldn’t even let me finish my week.

Now, given my family history, I’ve become somewhat immune to being told that what I did wasn’t good enough.  Yeah, I blame that on my dad.  My dad has an idea as to how people should be, and right or wrong, you can’t change his mind.  If I’m not wearing a fucking tie somewhere making 6 figures, it won’t be good enough.  That’s him and I can’t change that.

That being said, I don’t blame him for it.  He’s a WWII refugee that managed to escape Germany with his unwilling Vermacht soldier father as soon as the war was over.  It’s how he was raised.

I blame myself for not being able to overcome it.

I took that rejection of all the work I had done HARD.

I’m a sufferer of depression and I’m always standing on the edge of the cliff.  That rejection was the nudge that shoved me off the edge.

I responded in a way that I’ve become accustomed to all these years.

I drank.

First a few beers.  Then a few more.  Then it wasn’t enough and it was vodka.  I’m sure I picked it up on the way home that Thursday.  Things get blurry after that.  I know I locked myself in my room and just drank, hoping the hurt would go away.

It doesn’t.

It didn’t.

I shut everyone off.

I ignored the phone.  I cried.  I suffered.  And at that point, I couldn’t stop.


An ambulance was called for me and I refused it.

If it was in the house and had alcohol in it, I drank it and still the pain didn’t go away.

Finally, with the last bit of sense I had left, I called 911 myself.  I had to convince them that I was going to go this time, and I did.

I was taken to the Emergency Room and eventually admitted.

I spent two days there.  There were good nurses and bad and I was detoxed pretty well.

Then an incident happened in which one particularly nasty nurse kept ignoring me.  I finally got a doctor to come up from the ER and he spoke to me briefly because I had experienced a fall while I was there and suffered some damage to my back (which, to date, no one has bothered to check but yet I am unable to bend over to tie my own shoes).  The doc  said he would be sending up some medication for both my detox and my back and left.

I waited, and waited.  An hour and a half later, I crawled my ass out of bed to hunt her down.  When I found her, she said there was no medication of any kind sent up for me and that according to the doc there never was.

Needless to say, I may have lost my shit at that point.  I told them that one or both of them was lying to me and all I wanted was to have something done about my back.  An x-ray, MRI . . . for fuck’s sake, someone to lift my goddamn shirt and LOOK at the fucking thing!  All my frustration at the VA poured out at that point six fucking months of VA frustration poured out through tears and yelling and every fucking one of them was the problem and I made quite the scene at the nurses station, including one nurse that I knew from the Annex where I had worked.  (Who I apologized to for having to see that as she is one of the good ones)

I have a witnessed fall that NOBODY from my unit responded to (7 nurses from another unit came and picked me up, a doctor that either lied to me or told me what I wanted to hear so he could get out of the room and a nurse who could not have given ONE SINGLE FUCK.

And yet somewhere, there is an illegal immigrant with a drivers license and a social security number getting welfare and food stamps and here I am, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and I can’t get a fucking doctor to look at my injured back . . . IN A HOSPITAL!!

Being largely detoxified, I left the hospital AMA (against medical advice).

I found a cab and travelled 5 miles down the road and found a hotel right across the street from my primary care office where I planned to go in and visit my psychologist first thing the next morning.  This time I took Liz with me.

They convinced me to go back and check back in to the hospital, which we promptly did.  As I sat in the ER, they gave me a “banana bag” which for those not in the know is kind of a high powered IV of Gatorade with some extra potassium, took a few vials of blood, gave me some Ativan for the shakes and said have a nice day.  In other words, I wasn’t being readmitted.

I was dismissed with a “Don’t drink anymore and good luck.”

Which brings me to now.

I’m back in the hotel across from my Primary Care Clinic waiting for Monday when they open again.

I’m alone in my room on a laptop that Liz let me borrow.  Trusted not to drink again.

I won’t.  I can’t.  I have to find the fight to get my shit together.  I have a plan for Monday.  It might work.  It might fail miserably, but I WILL WIN!!

I know this sounds like a story of overcoming some deep adversity, but it really isn’t.

I’ve lost the respect of friends.

I owe apologies to people I never should have had to apologize to.

I have to find a new place to live.

I lost a girlfriend who loved me dearly and I have no way of apologizing to.

I am ashamed and afraid and I have no memory of what I’ve done.

I can only thank God that I never drove a car or killed anyone.

In three days I have completely reset my life and have to start over again.  Hopefully I can salvage some of it.

I am an alcoholic, and I always will be.  I can only hope to beat it into submission and that I’ll still have somebody left when that happens.


25 thoughts on “I was weak, and this post scares me

  1. I’m so sorry this happened and I KNOW you will not let them win. You’ve been here before so you must realize you can come back.

    You’ve got a massive community of cyber friends who don’t need an apology and who just want what’s best. Hang in there and please keep in touch with us. XO

  2. Oh Eric, how I wish I had something magical like to say that would help. 🙁 I’m sooo sorry about your situation. Hang in there. But do remember you have a caring community online and we are truly rooting for you!

    Hugs, KD

  3. These things happen. You’re not working against ‘usual’ parameters. You have extra uphill in your battle. I’m glad you’ve strengthened your resolve. I believe in you, and your determination to succeed. Go to it, my friend.

  4. Wow, I admire you for having the strength to recognize your issues and the desire to fix them. God willing someone else sees the beauty of you and the situation and lends you the medical support you need. I’ll be thinking of you.

  5. I thank you all for the encouragement and support, in light of the fact that I messed up and don’t even feel I deserve it. I didn’t write it for people to feel sorry for me, I wrote it because I know I’m not alone and other people need to hear that it happens to many of us. Not just veterans or people down on their luck, but everyone and I hope the word gets spread around.

    Thank you . . . thank you all.

    I’m sure there will be haters posting here, and I’m ready for it. People that don’t believe it’s a disease. To those, all I have to say is . . . BRING IT!!

  6. You’re not working without a net, my friend. Stay in touch with us as much as you can. None of us will give up on you…I can’t imagine you will either. I know you’ll move forward from this, no matter how hopeless and excruciating the steps may feel at times. Hang in there. Much love and respect.

  7. I am very sorry to hear that you had to endure such pain and nonsense, you don’t deserve that at all, especially after everything you did for us and our country.

    Sharing this piece with us takes a ton of strength, and I personally thank you for it, because we’ve all had moments such as this in out lives but unfortunately only a few with the courage to speak of it.

    You’re a fighter my friend, and I have no doubt that you will be standing tall when all this is over with a satisfied smirk on your face, telling all your haters to kiss your ass!

    Much love.

  8. Eric, for one, you are a helluva lot stronger than most people. You decided to fight your demons. Most would have let them win. SO, you deserve a star for that one. Secondly, you have a plan and a mindset to win this. You might lose a few battles, but you’ll win the war. You can do this, Marine!

  9. Dear Eric, I don’t know you. I’ve never read your blog. You would be likely ‘invisible’ to me passing on the sidewalk. That said… I know you exist. And I will be looking more closely from now on because you are a strength of nature and will not only survive but flourish coming through the tsunami of character that you have expressed here- today with many happy days ahead of you. Of that I am certain. God Speed.

  10. Hang in there man. Having family members who are/were vets and have struggled with Alcoholism Im all too familiar with what you’re struggling with. I’m of the mind that it is a disease and I never look down my nose at someone in this battle. You wouldn’t tell someone with cancer to suck it up and quit getting cancer. You’re not going to lose my respect that easily. If someone loses it or ostracizes you because of it that’s their problem. Wash your hands if those people and get on with getting you right! Love you brother

  11. Opti, You should get my email from this. What you need to know is that after close to twenty years of war against terrorists, you, me and people like us are everywhere. I’m going to be a subject of the same VA system come this December when I retire from the Army. I don’t look forward to that.

    What you need to know is this: people out here care. I care. If you want or need to vent, send me a note, Marine. Sack up and tell me what you have to. It sucks serving but it also is awesome. We come away with bruises and scars, no matter what or when we served.

    Let me know, dude.

  12. It takes a lot of strength and courage to share your story so honestly. You have the will to begin again, and the will to survive and triumph over this disease. THAT is HUGE. I can see why this was scary to write…

    But you did it.

    And you will wake up tomorrow and do it. Your plan. One hard day at a time.

    Hold on to your strength and your courage and your honesty. That is truly all you need, and you’ve GOT that.

  13. Dude, you have the strength to overcome this. You’re right, you have some people to apologise to and that will help, but you need to be able to forgive yourself. At the very least don’t be to hard on yourself – you’ve got a problem and you’ve recognised it and that’s a huge step as I’m sure you know. Keep fighting, and look at all the support you have here!

  14. Hey Eric, long time no comment. I haven’t been reading any blogs for a while… don’t take it personally, reading other peoples blogs just reminds me about how I abandoned my own and how I am useless, lazy, vapid, [insert further self-deprecating adjectives here]. I gave up because I have been pretty damn depressed for a full five months (and in that time have managed to be a shit employee, shit friend, shit girlfriend and general all round worst possible version of myself) and have only recently started to feel human again. I am on about my 10th good day in a row, which may not sound like a lot but is a considerable improvement on the odd good day/moment followed by multiple bad days. I guess it’s because of my recent state that this post caught my eye (the artwork you posted on FB especially). First, this post is incredible. Actually incredible. Seriously. I don’t write about stuff like this because it’s hard and scary and oh god, just no. And you did in the most open, brutally honest and beautiful way. So bravo. Second, I’m sorry we live in a world where one asshole can fuck up your job and, by extension, your whole life. But here you are, still writing and fighting and being awesome. Good luck with your plan for today. And you’re right about one thing, you will fight, and you will win. Why? Because your Eric Fucking Waechter.

  15. You will win, Eric. You’re brave and you’re strong and smart. My sister once asked “HOW MANY effing times do we have to start all over again?” and the answer is “As many times as it takes.” A temporary weakness can’t stop you. I wish you and all veterans had more help, more choices. It’s embarrassing how we treat those that fight for our freedom. Peace to you.

  16. You are a fighter. The fact that you came here to share this proves that you’re bigger than this. You didn’t walk away from yourself. You’re staying connected. And you can do so much by sharing your experience as brutal and fresh as it is. You might not be proud of yourself for falling. But you can be damn proud of yourself for standing back up. And getting back up is all the difference between champions and quitters.

    You rock.

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