Anchors Away


“My name is Brad and I’m an alcoholic.” I have said that many times since I got clean and sober over 9 years ago. Drugs and alcohol abuse is very high for those who have a mood disorder. Some studies say as high as 60%. I, for one, took anything I could get my hands on that would help to calm my monkey brain. I was a black out drinker, but can remember some things I did – some funny, some frightening. This is one of the stories where I didn’t black out.

While most people loose contact with their high school friends, I was lucky enough to stay good friends with a group of my buds. We all were partners in crime for many years. Each year we would rent a beach house in North Carolina to party. Being a blackout drinker, there is a lot I don’t remember from those trips, but always presumed I had a good time.

One night, in particular, I was restless and wanted to something to do. So one of my best friends, Steve, and I decided we were going boating. The trouble with that is we had no boat. Then it dawned on us that it wasn’t any trouble at all. We would find one.

In the middle of the night we decided to swim around the inlets. At night the water turns black and it’s one of those things that’s fun but very scary too. Most of the homes had small docks where they were able to leave their yachts. The boats were perfectly suited for our taking. We just needed to find one that still had the keys in the ignition. We were two drunken fools swimming around in pitch black water. As drunk as we were it’s amazing we didn’t drown. Yacht after yacht we searched for a boat that had the keys in the ignition. Certainly someone would think it wasn’t a big deal. We just wanted one to take out for a little joy ride. No harm in that. I just realized that we never discussed where we’d leave the yacht when we were done with it, but that would have been a matter of details, which we weren’t worried about in that stage of the game.

After climbing on boat after boat we began feeling dejected. Surely there must be someone who was dumb enough to leave their keys in their yacht. We came upon a particularly large yacht, compared to the others, and we were certain this was going to be the one. Unfortunately the owner wasn’t going to allow that to happen and he let us know.

I have no idea whether this particular yacht had its keys left in the ignition. We didn’t have time to find out. Just after climbing on the boat, the owner spotted us searching around. We heard a long angry “Hey! Get out of there” and saw the owner running from the house straight towards us. It was time for us to leave and leave fast. Steve jumped into the water first and began to swim away. I was not so lucky. I jumped off the boat and my feet landed straight into an oyster bed. Saying it hurt like hell is an understatement.

I had no choice but to swim away leaving a trail of blood flowing through the brackish water. When we got back to the beach house we had nothing effective to cover the wound on my foot except toilet paper. As bad as the bleeding was I wound up the rest of the weekend using an entire roll of paper wrapped around my foot. It never dawned on me to go to the hospital.

When I got home to see my doctor, he literally yelled at me, “Your foot is full of infection that there’s no way I can seal it shut. It’s just going to have to remain open and slowly heal itself.” And that’s what it did. Surprisingly it only left a small scar.

In the end, landing in the oyster bed was a good thing. I didn’t know that stealing a boat is grand larceny. I’m sure if I thought about it would be obvious, but I was drunk enough at the time, I don’t think I would have given a damn.

Yes, I am one of the 60% who suffered with substance abuse. Beer and cocaine were my drugs of choice when I was younger. Later it turned to hard liquor and crystal meth. I’ve mentioned many times on this blog many that I am an alcoholic but I believe this is the first time I mentioned that I was taking a large amount of drugs, as well.

So, there you have it. This wound up being one of the funny times that I remember us doing something so stupid. We laughed a lot about it when we got back to our cottage. Had we actually found a yacht to drive I likely would have been in jail for some period of time. Fortunately we stopped our search once that man began to chase us. Damn him for spoiling all our fun.

2 comments on Anchors Away

  1. It’s amazing yet not really surprising how high the comorbidity of substance/ alcohol abuse and mental health disorders is, like you said. What amazes me is how poorly a lot of places handle that – there are a lot of places (particularly prisons) where there are separate teams set up for treating each part, but one team will refuse to treat the mental health issues until the addictions are “dealt with” and the other team won’t treat the addictions until the mental health has improved! Luckily I got to spend some time working on a team that simultaneously tackled both of these and criminal behaviour. I learned a lot while working there and really saw how much people struggled with these things, so now I finally really appreciate the huge and ongoing effort you’ve put in to your recovery and the scale of the achievement. Well done mate!
    This was a great post, I got to know you a bit better both as you were then and as you are now 😀
    I’ve never had addiction problems, but there was a time in my life when I did drink a lot and did some things that I really could have got in a lot of trouble for! It’s a miracle I didn’t, like you in this story it’s not exactly like I was being smart or careful!

    1. Thank you for all the great feedback. Some of our hospitals and mental health offices are getting better at dealing with Dual Diagnosis, but we still have a long ways to go. It’s good to see you on here again. I didn’t remember how much I enjoyed blogging.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: