This I Believe

John - Durham, North Carolina
Entered on March 26, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

Suddenly I was awake. I remember wanting to drive back to Raleigh but being talked out of it and put to bed. But now I was filled with determination to go home. So I stumbled through the dark, gathering my things. I collected my sleeping golden retriever, having brought him with me to my sister’s beach house where I was supposed to be getting away from my troubles. I vaguely remember herding him into the back seat and starting my 2001 Red BMW for the trip back. I needed to be home dealing with my problems; not running from them at the beach. I started down the dark vacation-lined beach road in the early hours of that October morning.

I believe even the worst moments in life hold hope and promise.

There were blue lights flashing behind me. They represented my new future embarked on by moments of half waking and drunken judgement. I had been drinking all day. The drivers license I would be asked to provide would be a piece of paper in the glove compartment a judge had signed saying I could only drive for work and errands. Not even one year had passed since my first DWI; mostly the side effect of an imploding relationship and business partnership.

My left leg was in a metal frame which served to repair the bisecting cut my left calf muscle had suffered in a struggle with my now ex-lover and business partner a month earlier. He had fired me as Chief Financial Officer of the plastic surgery center I had helped him build. I had been thrown out of the house we both owned together while I was in the hospital. To help him I had resigned from a 14 year position as Chief Information Officer for a small company. I had no job, no feeling in my left foot, a barking dog, and two officers asking me for a driver’s license I could not provide. In every way I could imagine my life was over.

I had lived a charmed life in the military having worked on nuclear weapons and then in college with a background in computer science and then as a Vice President. I had been loved by my first partner for 13 years and my second for 6 years. I had traveled the entire world.

That night they took my red BMW — my symbol of my success. I never saw it again. I lost any way to drive for 4 years. I was locked up in a state rehab center for 28 days, I’ve sat through endless mandatory and mind numbing substance abuse classes for almost two years.

I held on and slowly the winds in my life changed. I met a wonderful person who saw promise in me. He found a way to use my computer skills in his small business working from a home office. In time my confidence returned. The day came when I could drive again. And in a moment of complete audacity, I applied for a job with Apple Computer. Having worked with Macintosh computers for years I worshipped the company but never dreamed I would work for it.

It’s been over six years now with someone I adore. We have a beautiful home and we are happy. Any problem I had with drinking was solved instantly that early October morning years ago.

Would I choose, if I knew the pain I would suffer and how things turned out, not to wake up that night and attempt that stupid drive home? Would the pain be worth the joy? I’ll never know. But I do know when life deals me a bad hand, even the worst moments in life hold hope and promise.