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The Fourth Round: How I Woke From a Coma To Start Battling Addiction

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

My eyes opened. I realize that I'm in a hospital. What's most peculiar is there are little puppets on my toes. In addition to the puppets, I'm surrounded by friends. The identities of these people tell me I'm still in Colorado. They are talking amongst themselves and still haven't noticed I'm awake. The only movement is my eyes and their attention is on each other. It's not from a lack of care. Rather they have been there for days waiting and hoping that I wake up and instead of staring in despair they chose some fellowship to break up some of the sadness. The two children in the room notice first. Which makes sense as they were responsible for monitoring my toe puppets. Even in my fogginess and near-death state, I could feel the shock in the room. In my typical state of mind in that era of my life, I was thinking "what theeee fuuuck happened??" As my awareness grows, the 16 tubes running from my body and the inverted angle of the bed are a different elements to my typical hospital visits resulting from my addiction.

Near death means new life and a whole lot of work.  A fresh start is possible.  Addiction Recovery is possible.  Sobriety is possible.
Near death may be messy, but it's worth it.

There were seven people in that room. I wonder, even now, if they had not been there, would I still be here now? I still feel as if there is a debt owed to each individual that cared enough to be there. My mind was still engulfed in addiction and alcoholism so that debt was never paid. Writing now and purpose in recovery is all I have to offer them.

How did I get there? What led to a state of certain death? The days prior were desperate for the people who cared. Without many options left to cease my abuse of drugs and alcohol, the authorities were called by a friend. His thoughts were I would have no choice but to sober up if I were in jail. When the cops approached the house I was in, it was clear. They had no other reason to be that far into the mountains other than to detain me. Many close friends were aware that I was wanted in Nevada and Colorado. I didn't fight or run. Let's face it. I could barely stand or see straight. If you're going to be in jail, Colorado isn't so bad. However, there was a larger culprit working toward my demise.

I was released within 48 hours and I had no money and no place to go. I suppose I was sober, if you want to count that for nearly two days I hadn't put anything into my body. I was hardly clear-minded. And I wanted sugar, bad! Alcoholics know whenever there is sustained abstinence from alcohol, you get cravings for sugar. What I didn't know at the time was I had diabetes. Yup, no idea. I consumed nearly 84 ounces of Mountain Dew from a gas station as a friend picked me up from down the hill. During the trek back to Estes Park, Colorado, I didn't want to run straight back to booze, I just wanted that damn soda.

My family and friends had organized a train trip back to Florida where I grew up and I was set to board the next day. I never made it. My body temperature went down to 85 degrees and I was incoherent. The person that was with me had seen me in drug-induced states like this before. So, he wasn't reacting like normal people would in this situation. Eventually, he made the call and paramedics quickly realized that death was looming and about to become a definite state. I was airlifted out of the mountain town to where triage was possible. My blood sugar was 1100. To people not familiar. Normal is between 80-170. At around 500 you want to be in a hospital. Where I had never been seen before by a single person in that hospital.

All the normal people I have encountered since being in the coma think the same thing. "Ahhh, that's when you turned your life around." "That's the rock bottom, I get it." Not even close. This was the fourth round in a 15-round fight with the Devil. People struggling and have seen glimpses of the other side know. Nobody snaps out of it. It would be years before I would gain traction in addiction recovery.

As I continue to persevere on this path of healing and redemption, I carry with me gratitude for those who stayed by my side during the darkest of times. Though I can never fully repay them, I find solace in sharing my story, offering a glimmer of hope to those still trapped in the clutches of addiction. The fourth round may have been a near-fatal blow, but it is through resilience, self-discovery, and the unwavering support of others that I am now able to face each subsequent round with renewed determination and hope.

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