Dan's Addiction- Part 2
When Judge Harold T. Stone entered his messy apartment, he literally threw himself on his bed, without changing clothes or taking off his shoes. "What a night," he said aloud to himself. "I am so glad it's the weekend." At that moment, the phone on his nightstand began to ring. "What now!" Harry mustered the strength to sit up and grabbed the receiver. "Hello… Oh my God, what happened… Ok, I'm on my way."
"Which room is Dan Fielding in? Two-fourteen, thanks…" Harry was at the same hospital where Dan had his operation, where he had hoped never to visit again. Before entering room 214, he stopped, took a deep breath, and then opened the door slowly. "Dan…"
"I'm here, alone." Harry opened the door to find Dan's right arm in a cast, and his neck in a brace.
"How are you feeling Dan?"
"Like I got hit by a truck." Harry sat down in the chair next to the hospital bed and faced Dan, but Dan did not look him in the eye.
"I think I have an idea of what happened, but I would like to hear you tell me."
"Last night… I could not get my parents out of my mind, so I went to a bar. When it closed I chose to drive home drunk, and I hit a light pole. I really am glad that the bystanders were able to get out of the way."
"It's a miracle no one else was hurt. Dan I… I don't know what to say. I had hoped you would have called me by now to tell me you were ready to get help, not to find you in the hospital."
"It would be ironic to say I'm ready to get help now, wouldn't it?" Dan looked up to see a less-than-amused Harry. "In all seriousness, I have thought about what you said all week. Roz even talked to me after you left that night, she had heard the whole conversation. She wants me to get help too, but I still can't help but rationalize that my addiction is mine alone to bear."
"Dan Fielding, you must be the most stubborn person I know, but I know any addiction, like a bad habit, is hard to break, especially cold turkey."
"All I think about is drinking. If I go a few hours without a drink, my body begins to shiver."
"That's the first step on the road to recovery: detox. It's not just for drug addicts, you need to detox in order for your body to get out of the habit of needing alcohol."
"I also looked into some rehab programs, but I don't have insurance and it's too expensive."
"I, and Roz if she's up to it, can help you through this. It's obvious that you are not going to be able to work for a few more weeks, so we can try to get you started on the road to recovery."
"I would like that, Harry, because as much as I want to do this alone, I don't think I can."
The day Dan Fielding was released from the hospital Judge Stone drove him to his apartment. Harry opened the door for his friend, and Dan immediately positioned himself on the couch, lying with his casted arm on top of him.
"How're you feeling Dan?"
"I'm ok, still shaking with alcohol withdrawals."
"Now that you mention it, I haven't been able to come by and empty out your liquor, I need to know where everything is."
"There's some in the fridge and my liquor cabinet is in my bedroom."
"Ok Dan…" Harry started rummaging through the refrigerator. "I have to leave at six and Roz will be here around seven."
"I don't need someone here twenty-four seven, I'm sure I can fend for myself most of the time."
"Until you get over your addiction someone should be here helping you." Dan closed his eyes and took a long sigh.
"I wish… I wish I Christine could come."
"No one else knows about this, and you know how she feels about you."
Later that night Roz entered Dan's dark, quite apartment. She turned on the lights to find emptiness.
"Dan," she called. There was no response, so she began searching the apartment. The last place she looked was his bedroom, and that is where she found him, on the edge of his bed about to fall. She rolled him over and found a whiskey bottle underneath him. Normally Roz was a strong person, not letting her emotions get the best of her, but she began to sob at the sight of the bottle. Dan groaned and managed to open his eyes.
"Roz... you're here."
"How could you, Dan?"
"How could you drink again? You were doing so good in the hospital, and then you come home and throw all the hard work down the toilet."
"I… couldn't help myself. I… I was thinking about Christine. Why… why doesn't she love me?" Dan began bawling then reached under his pillow and took out another whiskey bottle. Roz snatched it out of his hand and dumped the alcohol into the bathroom sink. She returned see a man she admired in pain, tears streaming down his cheeks. Roz lay down beside Dan and held him. He clung to her like a baby. "I'm… I'm glad you're here," he muttered. "I don't… don't want to be alone."
"You're not alone sugar, you have your friends here beside you." Dan continued to sob, and she rubbed his back.
"I'm 40… and single… I'll never find my significant other."
"I know one day you will, when you least expect it."
"Can… can I have a Vicodin?"
"I don't think so, you're drunk. Sleep the pain and the alcohol off, and if you are still feeling pain in your arm, then I will give you some."
"Ok… don't leave me."
The next day Harry found Dan asleep in Roz's arms. She got up and told the judge what had happened that night, and they scoured the apartment to find any hidden alcohol. They found Jack Daniel's under his mattress, tequila in a stash under the rug in his living room, and vodka behind a painting in his living room.
"I hope that's it," Harry proclaimed. "Now let's get him up, he and I have to be at AA in two hours."
"My name is Dan… and I'm an alcoholic."
A month later Dan returned to Judge Stone's courtroom, arm still in a cast. Throughout the night, Dan was his usual, sarcastic self, and he and Christine carried on their usual witty banter. When court adjourned, Dan and Roz gathered around Harry, out of earshot of the others.
"Have good news for us, Dan," Harry asked quietly.
"Thirty days sober," Dan smiled.
"I knew you could do it," Roz chimed in, keeping a stern face. "Keep up the good work."
"Did you go to the doctor yesterday," Harry asked.
"Yeah, he said the cast will come off in a week, and then I'll have to wear a brace for a few more weeks. I'm not in so much pain anymore, so I am completely drug free."
"If you continue with AA I know you can be off alcohol for good in no time," Roz said. "Are we still having dinner?"
"Yeah, I'll meet you guys at Harry's place in an hour." Before Dan left the courtroom, Christine stopped him.
"I'm glad you are doing better Dan."
"You seem different."
"I can't put my finger on it, which is unusual. You just seem… happy."
"Despite this inconvenience, I feel better than I have in my entire life."
"That's good. You have a date tonight?"
"Just with some friends."
"Ok, well, I'll see you tomorrow." Christine pecked Dan on the cheek and then left him standing there, perplexed.
"I don't know what that meant," Dan said to himself, "but whatever happens happens, and having a clear mind helps a lot."