The police officer keeps pressing his cold, heavy hand against my face. He’s probably thinking that I’m dead. Or might die. Or maybe that I deserve to be dead. Truth is, that would probably be easier on my family.
The first thing I felt when I woke up was someone smacking me on the right side of my face. I remember wondering what the cop who woke me up thought. I suppose it’s not too much of a mystery:
Another alcoholic piece of sh*t.
“Sir, you’ve been in an accident,” he said.
“No I haven’t,” I responded.
Splintered shards of glass dusted the dashboard and zig-zagging fractures ran the length of the windshield. I realized that I might have spoken too soon. Then I noticed the tree. It was only a couple of feet away from my legs; my Ford Focus’ front-end had wrapped around it, forming a U-shape.
I hadn’t used that day. I wasn’t drunk or stoned. The reason I smashed my car into a tree doing 40 mph is because I had a seizure, the result of attempting to quit both booze and Xanax cold turkey.
The trouble had started several hours earlier. I hadn’t known that booze and Xanax work on the same cell receptors and that trying to withdraw from both at once was extremely dangerous. I was working at my office job when strange sensations began shooting though my body. It felt like my guts were being electrocuted. Tingling waves coursed through me, and within minutes, I crumpled in my desk chair. Then came the nausea.
I’d never had such an intense withdrawal before, but I was at the tail end of a months long bender and had now been away from any substance for what felt like a lifetime. It had actually been 10 hours.
I left work, and began the one hour trek back to my mother’s home. This is the junkie’s life: my car was borrowed and I had nowhere to live. I’d had stuff before — a BMW, girlfriends, apartments, jobs, friends, money. Now I had none of it. I was in the midst of rebuilding, at least that’s what I told myself. In actuality, I was still busy tearing everything apart. With every swig of vodka (usually to chase a pill), I shredded my life a little further.
That electrocution feeling wasn’t going away. In fact, the intervals increased in duration and frequency. Then…darkness.
When they loaded me onto a gurney, I felt sharp pains in my wrists. Later, I found out that both of my shoulders were dislocated. It’s tough to say what did the damage. It was either the convulsions from the seizure, or the impact of the wreck. Maybe both. The only witness to the accident said I was air drumming before I hit the pole. That must be what a seizure looks like.