My journey to hell began after I stopped drinking alcohol. I was two years into my sobriety, when my condition became increasingly worse. I became ever more-so paranoid and I started hearing voices. My personal belongings became chess pieces to be moved about my apartment in a vain attempt to correct forces surrounding me. I had a ‘light’ and a ‘dark’ area in my apartment… and items would be moved from one location to the other, depending on the circumstances.
I threw out all the awards, yearbooks, and plaques I received during my college and graduate school years. Fortunately, for some reason unknown to me today, I saved all my diplomas… but kept them hidden in one of my ‘dark’ areas.
Rewind back two years prior to this… I was drinking heavily, in the throes of active addiction and alcoholism. My paranoia was high. I used to believe that I could sense what people were thinking… at least regarding what they were thinking about me. I was concurrently at the high point and (at the time) the low point of my career, a post-doctoral position at Harvard University.
My drinking was out of control, but I did not realize it at the time. It was only through what I will call a divine intervention that I stopped drinking while up at Harvard; still employed, sheltered with housing and an income. That would all change two years into the future.
I was doing everything I was told to do. Attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Don’t drink. Keep it simple. But nothing, apparently, could stem the oncoming storm that would overtake my life… the full onset of schizoaffective disorder.
Despite doing everything right with what I was supposed to do, I started hearing voices… I saw things, I became even more paranoid and eventually I went homeless. Schizoaffective disorder took me to a place I avoided during my heaviest days of drinking… living on the street.
At times I laughed at my circumstances. Other times I got very angry. I was bouncing around from one homeless shelter to another. If I was lucky enough to develop the courage to stay at one. Sometimes I slept in the woods, in the middle of winter. One night it even snowed as I laid near a road covered by trash bags.
My journey did not end there. I thought many times it would end by torture or freezing to death during the night. However, this was simply the beginning of my journey.
Medication and time would allow me to slowly rebuild my life and my career. One foot in front of the other… at the turtle’s pace. Slowly and steadily as I continue to move forward as I trudge the road to happy destiny.