‘Parking Lot Puddles’ — One Man’s Fight With Addiction


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.