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Five years ago this week, give or take a few days, I married a girl named Mary. It was a rush, a whirlwind, the biggest mistake I ever made. She is a good person–loving, in her way–but we both made a mistake. 

For me, taking the plunge was the most romantic thing I could ever do. I took a chance, and it failed spectacularly. We were separated by October, divorced by December. I haven’t seen her since.
Our separation was the beginning of the darkest period of my life. I started drinking a lot. A lot. I had my very first blackout during this period, but sadly not my last. During those months, I also began doing things that I frankly never thought I would ever do in a million years. 
I had just turned 35 that November, and I remember one cool night after my birthday walking out of Barnes & Noble to my car when the thought occurred to me, “I won’t live to see 36.” At the time, it seemed a premonition, but it was one I was determined to make true.
As you can tell from the fact that it is 2008 and I am writing this, I made it past that birthday. A little banged up, but serviceable. I am happy. I don’t like my job, I have no money, I am in debt, I can’t drive, but fuck all that! I am HAPPY!
What brings my darkest times back to mind is not the anniversary of that marriage. Oddly enough, it’s after watching a rather disturbing video of a man who killed himself essentially over the singer Björk. This odd fat man who was clearly deranged–deranged enough certainly to eat a bullet on camera with his head shaved and his face painted like Darth Maul–was upset that Björk had started dating a black man and so sent her a package loaded with an acid propellant to try and hurt her. He’d also decided he would kill himself at the same time.
Watching this video, I was transfixed by this man’s sincere need to die. In 2003 and 2004, I wanted very badly to end my life. I was trapped in a situation where I felt so humiliated at my life and what I’d done and been doing that death was the logical choice. Eminently logical.
I am going to stop my rambling right now to once again point out that I no longer feel this way. My life is different now than it was five years ago. Worse in some ways (I am no longer making $50,000 a year solving problems and playing on the computer all day), but so much better in other ways.
You have no idea how good things are. This world is paradise if you let it be so. And the only one who can choose whether you are in heaven or hell is you. It doesn’t take money, it doesn’t take love or sex or drugs, it takes you making the decision to be happy or to not be happy. And if things are particularly shitty, you can choose to dwell upon that or to find something to make you stop pondering the shit you’re in. Something to distract you–preferably something that doesn’t involve chemical assistance. Trust me, that is not going to help.
The Björk-crazed nut decided to die on camera–to make a splash for his ego and his obsession over some singer. He picked the time and place and the means to die and did it. I watched the video and said to myself, “I wanted so badly to do just that a long time ago, and I couldn’t.” When push came to shove, I didn’t see the point in doing it. I begged myself, I begged God to let me, but the voice said “no.”
Religious types take note: The voice was mine. Perhaps there was assistance from the great beyond, I am not going to discount anything. But I made the choice and chose to live.
In any case, there was an epiphany during that period, and the beginning of a lot of work, more than a few setbacks, but I was born again a year later.
Christians take note: You have co-opted the term born again for so long you perhaps don’t realize Christ isn’t necessary to the process. One is born again every second of the day. When you choose to cast off what holds you down, you are born again.
I certainly was. 
As I said, there were many setbacks, and lots of work, and I am still working even to this day on not dwelling on things. I am working on detachment–on letting go. It’s hard. I couldn’t let go of my relationship with Tammy and let that drag on for way too long. (By the way Tammy, we both did.) I couldn’t let go of nasty habits without some kind of official kick in the ass to assist me, but right now I am sober. I’ll take that assist, even if it is expensive and inconvenient. 
Whatever it takes for me to let go of the me that needs so much positive and negative reinforcement to feel validated, I will do that.
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