I started using booze and drugs wen I was 15 to escape my childhood. It was horrible in our house. It got so bad I ran away, hitched a ride from the CO mountains to Southern California.
I lived in a flop house in Anaheim. I couldn't get a job because I was afraid to tell anyone my name. So I sold myself on Hollywood Boulevard. Kids I hung out with got into cars and never came back. I survived two murder attempts. Jackson Browne wrote Boulevard about us.
From there I started taking LSD to get to a place in my mind that was happy. Lots of trips, booze, and drugs.
It got so bad I lost control. Frankenstein got off the table, he had me by the neck. The low point lasted a couple years. I recall skiing steep pitches so blitzed I couldn't see straight.
Renee was and is everything to me. She was my best drinking buddy. That woman could out drink anyone, dance the night away in heels. She made sure I had booze on Sunday, that I was never out of weed. She's given me so much. Truth be told, she's the smart one in the family. She makes me want to be a better man.
Renee got clean when she learned she was pregnant with our son Justin. I was pissed about it, because I'd lost my best drinking buddy. She'd leave my half empties and roaches on my keyboard, as a gentle nudge to say "Paulie, you need to quit".
Then one day I watched an interview with Gerald Ford on Larry King. Mom raised me to be a Gore Vidal liberal. Ford was a Republican. But I always admired him, thought he was a good man.
In the interview Gerry talked about how he stopped drinking because of Betty. He said something to the affect of "With all she's done for me, I wanted to show her I was behind her. Besides. Drinking never meant that much to me".
Then it hit me. I needed to quit - for Renee. Because I knew that if I kept on, one day she was gonna join me for a drink. I could take fucking up my life. But not hers.
16 years ago today on 4.16.07, I stopped using booze and drugs.
Now if you'll excuse me I'm gonna spin the past 16 years backwards, think about how I made it to this day. Celebrate, au natural.
Oh. And btw. Now I stay clean for me.