Friday, March 21, 2014

The Manny Diaries, Part Eight: Back in the House

It's not over....

For all we knew, the Manny had been living comfortably on a pig farm for the last several weeks, enjoying the company of his new porcine brothers, reveling in the fresh air, and enjoying a snort of bourbon whenever and how often he liked.

So we were pretty dismayed to get a phone call from him on March 11th, in which his opening conversational gambit was: "I'm cold. I'm homeless! And I'm scared."

He was clearly drunk. He claimed he was sitting atop a grate in NYC with all his bags and baggage and was freezing to death. Interestingly, that day was a balmy high of 66 degrees with a low of 45, but "It's below zero out here!" he stuttered.

"Dude, what happened at the pig farm? Why did you leave?"

"Oooh, their son was really annoying. I couldn't tolerate him! He was crazy!"

Some information was clearly missing. Perhaps he had gotten too cozy with one of their pigs in the sty and they sent him on his way? Either way, he was sitting on the streets of NYC.

"You drinking?" we asked.

"Me? Nah! I've been sober for 15 days, at least." Except it came out a bit like: "I'sh been stober for fiteen days at leash!"

"And your choice to quit drinking was motivated by...?"

"I just didn't need it. Can take or leave it. Why bother?"

He didn't listen much to reason, including the suggestion that he check in at an AA meeting.

"Why would I do that?" he said. "I don't drink!" Except it came out a bit like: "I dunnn drinkuh!"

After a while, he hung up. We were worried about him, but what could we do? It wasn't like he'd even proposed a solution to us. He hadn't even asked to come back.

Then, a couple of nights ago, we got a voicemail at 1:30 a.m. "Dude, I'm homeless," it said. "I am homeless. And scared. And you fucked me. You screwed me."

I didn't really like that message. So when he called the next day we were prepared for the worst. But this time he was sober. Completely, rock-solid sober. He said that he had hit bottom and was prepared to do whatever it took to get help. He was terrified. He sounded like a scared little boy who had thrown a rock through a window.

What would you do? Really? Here is what we did. We drafted up a list of ironclad rules and told him to come back and take a shower and start attending a program for drunks and show us the chips they hand out at AA and blah-de-blah and, oh, by the way, pack up your stuff and get the fuck out ASAP or we will do it for you. The point was, Obey the Rules or Ye Shall Be Homeless Again.

Last night I was lying in bed and at around midnight I heard the front door open and he came in, huffling and shuffling. I hid beyond our bedroom door as he thumped and mumbled up the stairs on his way to the attic. I peered through the crack into the light but I couldn't see him as he passed. When he was gone I darted to the bathroom and back, on bounding fleet feet like a kid afraid of the dark.

I didn't see him today at all. And I didn't hear from him either, except for that one time he entered the upstairs bathroom and released a series of loud farts.

 I told the story today, in brief, to a friend who has some knowledge of alcoholics. "He's sober right now," I said. "And we've given him lots of warnings and all that. And he said he hit rock bottom. So, we expect things to get weird but maybe he'll make it this time, maybe—?"

As we were speaking she held up two fingers.

"Is that the peace symbol?" I wondered, briefly. "Is she wishing me peace for being a good egg for taking in this poor soul again?"

Then she leaned over and said: "I give him two days. Two."


Marewolf said...

Eeeeep!! You're friend is correct. I have a little something my sister told me about alcoholics, and she would know because she is one: how do you know when an alcoholic is lying? Their mouth is moving. :( sad but true. Manny gots to go!

Bethany Crandell said...

oh boy.
A) You're an awesome person for giving him an opportunity to get things sorted out
3) the only alcoholic in my life hit rock bottom and cleaned herself up first try--just celebrated 6 years. It CAN happen.
D) That pig is so gross, I have to turn away from it. No wonder I don't like bacom.

Bethany Crandell said...

I actually do know how to spell BACON despite the above comment.

Suzanne Payne said...

You're braver than I am. My husband's mom was an alcoholic and died that way. Would never admit to it. If he's done that, maybe he has a chance, but if he's not getting any sort of help with it, I'm not too optimistic. Crossing fingers for you, because if he falls off the wagon, it'll be hard to get him out again.

Catherine Stine said...

This is one craaaazy story--is it for real?!

cheila mosa said...

Wow! This is very sad....good luck to all of you and Manny

Anita Grace Howard said...

Oh noes! Of course you're wonderful for giving him yet another chance. I hope he makes it this time, I really do. But you and hubby were wise to make up that list of rules. Don't bend an inch... *hugs you and your big heart*

Precy Larkins said...

Eep, he scares me! But at the same time, I still pity him. I hope he'll clean up his act for good. Life is too short to waste it.

Hugs to you! You're so brave (and your husband, too) and so kind to extend help to Manny.