Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Abandonment Issues: Yugoslavian Hunting House
In my last post, I told you one of the saddest stories that I have ever told.
Now, I'm going to tell you one of the scariest.
"I SHOOT EVERY SECOND PROWLER, THE FIRST ONE JUST LEFT."
That was handwritten on a note thumb-tacked to the door of this overgrown red brick building along a lonely stretch of road west of Singhampton, Ontario. Above the note was a sign reading "HUNTING PERMITTED BEYOND THIS POINT."
Cob webs stretched, snapped and fell away as my sweaty hand trepidatiously turned the knob and the door creaked slowly open.
"Hello?" I attempted to yell but faltered and merely whispered.
I tried again, yelling but sounding more scared than anything...
From the road, the building appeared at one time to have been a schoolhouse or church. But inside, with those death threats on the door behind me, I instantly realized that it had been converted to a private residence of a Yugoslavian family of Slovenian descent. It became obvious very quickly that hunting was an obsession to the primary occupant and decorator of this abode. As were alcohol consumption and aviation.
Hunting gear was everywhere, and I mean everywhere.
My hands brushed through and separated what I thought was a beaded curtain. I poked my head through and shouted my greeting once more, this time with confidence. A voice broke the silence. It was Ninja behind me proclaiming that the beaded curtain was actually made of beer caps and bullets.
Sweaty palms got sweatier. Nervousness intensified. That threat on the door behind us got very real and we were on edge. Our fear was almost palpable.
But once again, curiosity won out over fear and we ventured deeper into the house.
As Ninja poked around the kitchen I walked down the hall and into a bedroom. As she read a document aloud I stumbled upon something that I found quite ironic. She was reading something that had been translated from Slovenian to English, but I didn't hear a word. I was staring at an empty bottle of Appleton Estates Jamaican Rum that I found standing atop a dresser. I was completely lost in thought planning a relapse I knew I didn't want. The irony struck me so profoundly: Appleton Estates Jamaican Rum was my drink of choice and after almost 21 months clean and sober, I was planning to go buy myself a bottle of that very rum on that very day.
You see, this story isn't scary because of the threat on the door, or the hunting paraphernalia, or the creepy chalkboards or the antlers or the skull. It isn't scary because of the risk involved with exploring or the intense fear that we felt inside that house or even the threat of drunken angry Slovenian hunters bashing through the door and violently murdering us.
It is scary because I gave up. It is scary because in sobriety I had found a way of life and a happiness that I had never dreamed possible, and I loved it. It is scary not only because I relapsed on a brutal three day bender, but because of the lesson I learned from this experience.
It is scary because I am an alcoholic and I am powerless over alcohol. It is scary because I've come to terms with the fact that I have a disease that tries to trick me into thinking that I don't have it. It is scary because on this day it did convince me that I might not have it, even though I knew otherwise.
It is scary because I know now how easily my entire life will fall apart if I ever again let this disease convince me that I might not have it.
As I sit here writing this post, I have been clean and sober for seven days.
click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES