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11 Beds

~ Corey Flood

11 beds- 11 beds that’s the number of clients that

make up this dorm I find myself in.

11 beds- 11 men- 11 sorry cases- 11 different

examples of the power of addiction, and the cost

resulting from this deadly way of life. 11 stories -

11 men who have absolutely no power over this

evilness, this lack of self-control, no self-respect,

and absolutely no direction what so ever. 11 sorry

examples of men living in a world that centers on glass bottles, shot glasses, inappropriate behavior, irrational thoughts, and zero conscience. This glass world has cracked and shattered many times. The slivers of this glass world scratching and scarring all who surround them. These 11 men recounting tales filled with laughter and bravado, self –centered, false pride, tears and anger. These 11 men, myself included, sitting in a circle on black uncomfortable chairs talking about the liquid in the glass that calls to them, the voice that tells them they can stop at one, you can have just one you deserve it. There has never been just one in my life, There is no perception of what just one means.

11men- 11 men in beds that fill a small dorm, and the smallness of their lives filling the room perfectly. 11 men who toss and turn at night. I see the tears, I listen to the whispers at night, I look at the ones who are lying in bed with eyes wide open not able to sleep because of the conscience that returns in the loneliness of the night where the war stories carry no weight. I listen to the conversations that have hope in them, that have love for neglected children in them, of missed holidays and what will change the next year, of countless broken dreams and promises. I listen and hear the hopelessness in the many voices in the dark, the hope and belief fading, and the almost total acceptance of a lifetime thrown away and lost. The number 11 and odd number and an odd way of life.

I sit here examining my own life. I think about how many dusty, bumpy and twisting roads this liquid in a bottle has led me down. I think and remember all the years I gave to incarceration. I think of all the injuries from car wrecks, physical altercations, and also the most damaging- the loss of who I am and my personal ambitions. Each one of these things soaked and faded from a man made poison in a glass bottle. I sit here in the 11th bed watching each and everything that goes on in this small cramped room. I listen to the tales shared by these 10 other men who have forgotten for the moment what brought them here, and in their laughter and despair, and the hurt and pain in their lives, and I hear the words, I need a drink and the chuckles and laughter and especially the bragging of how much they drank that resulted in their stay here. These words cutting and scratching my heart and soul. It keeps the power in the glass alive and well. I recognize all this as I sit here in reflection of what brought me here. We may wear different clothes , we may look different, feel differently about the many issues in life, but each one of us are more alike- like blood relations- because we are absolute slaves to the liquid- the liquid in the glass which has become our lord and master. The master puppeteer moving us here and there anytime, anywhere it wants. I know and recognize the tremendous power of this evil man made liquid. I recognize all I have given it willingly. The power of addiction lying in wait to ambush me, looking for a crack in my armor seeking a way in, and it uses sadness, depression, despair, disappointment, anger and the worse- happiness, to keep us seeking it and to keep us enslaved to the vicious thing called addiction.

I don’t know how many times I have tried to understand what benefits I receive in this negative association, and what it is that the poison brings to my life, what it is about it that has me seeking it, and why I have allowed it the power it has, and a foul tasting and smelly thing keeps me coming back for more, more of the shame, more of the hurt.

I have walked away from this evil and have lived a life of happiness and peace, and still it called to me and takes from me all the positive things, the forward steps, the accomplishments I worked so hard to achieve, the healthy relationships, the love of my life, this evil wants each thing that I hold dear and I have gladly given these things to it. Alcohol- the name a modest one for something so ugly, so destructive, so hurtful and so very alive. The power of this evil is one that consumes, and a power more selfish than any person I have ever met. This selfishness is one that’s unstoppable. There is no other way for me to view this awesome, powerful, negative energy, but to compare myself to a dog on a leash. The leash getting shorter with each visit I allow from the evil in the bottle. I see how my life has changed in comparison to the other 10 men, yet I sit among them once again. It speaks of the power of this disease when 11 of us are here from the same association- the whole dorm. The power receiving each thing it craves- each one of us. It comes down to either jail or prison, treatment centers and hospitals, and worse a death that will not come- a long torture that's inescapable. There is no sunny days or sandy beaches in this way of life. The conversations consist of getting out of satisfying their legal obligations, of celebrating when they walk out the door, and the most disturbing of all- the same old- I can stop at just one. I sincerely believe each of us has some form of mental disease. They say the definition of insanity if repeating the same thing over and over again expecting different results. I understand insanity.

This way of life has no real definition. There are no words created to properly define what addiction is or what it feels like to live in this immoral and pitiful way. I may be one of the two in this dorm who are here voluntarily but still the leash is on me holding me back and denying me a life of freedom and spiritual fulfillment. A man cannot serve two masters. I know, and I recognize that there is no love, no spiritual connection, and no true smiles or laughter in this association. I have heard the term dysfunction and also co- dependency. My longest relationship outside of my blood relatives has been with this evil- this dominating- this hateful- deceitful- shameful- sorrow filled relationship with this leash, and a leash that is leading me to an early grave.

As I sit here I still have love in my heart and hope is still strong in my thoughts, and there still remains a sliver of belief that one day my heart will be filled to overflowing from an association with a woman I can give my feelings and love to with the same level of commitment I have given the poison in the glass. At this moment and look around the room the leash has the weight of a log chain. I pray that this brief stay here will loosen one link, just one link is all I ask to lessen this overpowering evil I have allowed to dominate me. This one link will bring relief, but will I replace the weight that has bound me in slavery with something loving and positive, or will I allow this Satan like liquid to overpower me and control me all over again. I truly believe in possession because I am living it at this moment. The one true thing I know is there is no denying the way all 11 of us are similar, and that we have given our will and lives to something dark, something evil and hurtful, and we are all helpless at this moment to the one with the horns of power- the liquid in the glass. As I sit here in reflection I hear the drunken voice of someone singing the Lakota Flag song, In All Ways I Am Broken.