"War Zone" is the prequel to "Damaged Merchandise." It takes place 10 years before the poetry came alive. It is the story of my first two years of sobriety and the demons I battled, not only those within myself, but with those around me. I realized that curing my addictions was only half the battle. The other half was realizing that many of my relationships were toxic to my own sobriety.
By reading my journals, you'll see the hell, I personally created! A hell, which at times, I wasn't sure I wanted to escape. I knew I couldn't go back, but I was scared to move forward. War Zone begins a lifelong journey out of hell, as I find the gifts and promises of sobriety.
With sobriety, I began a spiritual journey. An adventure, filled with enlightenment and an awareness that I wasn't alone. I continue to seek serenity and peace, in all my surroundings. On this journey, I'm joined by Betty, my wife of eight years.
I started '96 in divorce court. Sometime around March, Janice moved across the state, to be closer to her family. All reminders of my life as a married man, were now gone. There was some depression, by the way the events unfolded. But, from everything I had experienced, I realized I just completed one hell of a journey. It was a journey out of hell! For well over a year, I was in the grieving process, burying "drunk Dave." A part of me which help me survive. I know it was an insane way to live, but "drunk Dave," led an exciting life. Maybe exciting isn't the best word to use, but it was a life many people don't get to experience. Homelessness, a couple of OD's, two failed marriages before I was 40 years old, and a very real spiritual awakening. For the first time, I was on my own, but I wasn't alone. No more courts or counselors. Nothing keeping me sober, except me and my Higher Power! By June of '96, I was ready to change my program of recovery, to a program of discovery. Don't get me wrong, AA saved my life. Now I wanted a little more. I didn't want to sit in meetings, talking about what I needed to do. It was time to start doing it! I don't go to AA much anymore, but I still try to live by the pratices I learned there. My program of discovery would be taking that last "leap of faith," and seeing what the world had to offer me. It was also that "leap of faith," which would show me, that I had something to offer the world. Within a month, I would resign from my job and move. I believed, that for me to grow, I needed to wipe the slate entirely clean. Anything that I had while I was drinking, I needed to bury with "drunk Dave." So with the clothes on my back, my old dog, and an old Dodge, we headed down the road. It wasn't as easy as I make it sound, but it needed to be done. I left Seward, knowing I didn't run. I stayed to the end! I also realized that I needed to remember the last two years living there, because I would use it as my foundation to stay sober. If any thoughts of drinking would enter my mind, all I'd have to see, was an image of four scared children, whom I verbally and physically helped to destroy. AA says not to "dwell in the past." I don't dwell in it, but I also don't want to forget it.