A little over 14 years ago I made the dumbest, weakest mistake that I have ever made. It’s actually my one regret. 43 years and I’ve only got one regret? I mean that’s not bad, or at least normally it wouldn’t be. Except this mistake cost me absolutely everything. 14 years ago, the day before my daughter was to go to Texas to spend an entire month with her mother. I’d been with her almost everyday of her nearly 4 year old life, missus a weekend here and there that she spent with her mother and I was about to miss a whole month of her life, not to mention that it was almost her birthday so I was gonna miss that as well. Unless I figured out how to get to Texas without a vehicle and being on probation most likely by thumb, which I probably would have tried to do. Instead I never got the chance because on the day before her mom was to show up, instead of taking opportunity of the time that I had with my daughter, instead I ran as far and as fast as I could away from the feelings and emotions that I was being consumed by. Instead of taking my daughter to the park and enjoying our time together I got a litter of 90 proof peppermint schnapps and a handful of xanax and checked the fuck out. By 10:00am I was smashed. All day my mother had asked me to let her have my daughter, just let her go home with my mom because I was wasted and I was out of control. I told her to fuck off. She was about to be go e for a month and stupidly I claimed I wanted the time with her. I was blacked out by the afternoon and woke up the next morning locked up in jail, having only a few memories of the previous 24 hours. I did know that it was fucked though. I went to court early, at like 8 maybe 9 am and my probation officer was in the courtroom, looking extremely stressed, like she was about to cry. After the judge finished with me she walked over to me and with tears in her eyes she said, “I’m so glad that you’re alive.” I just kinda laughed and said yeah me too and went back to the jail. At the jail I was visited by DHS who informed me of what I done. One memory I do have is of trying to cook Brooklyn some dinner in our hotel room. During this disaster I managed to catch the wall on fire and had a moment of clarity in which I was terrified I was going to burn us up alive. So I bundled Brooklyn up and carried her to my best friends house, the only place I trusted was safe. Once there I passed out on the couch and my homie made my kid some macaroni. In just a really shitty piece of luck, probation showed up at my homies house to just do a random home inspection, finding my intoxicated on the couch. I hate cops and cops hate me, something I had stupidly let my daughter witness and so Brooklyn hated cops as well. When they showed up and finally woke me from my slumber they told me that they had contacted DHS and that they were on their way to take my daughter away from me. It was at this point that I decided to fight the police and what with like 5 or 6 Xanax bars in my system on top of the booze when I tried to fight my heart just laughed at me and went out, causing me to have a heart attack and die for 3 minutes. The department of human services put my daughter in foster care and I was charged with child abuse for putting my daughter in an unsafe environment. Her mother eventually ended up jumping through the required hoops bringing my daughter home and I ended up going to prison due to me catching a new case on probation. I never thought that Jessica would keep my daughter away from me, she never knew her dad and I thought that she was still my friend. We had a lot of history, I thought it was enough. It was not. In prison I got one visit. With a couple months until my mandatory release date my sister came to see me, informing me that Jessica was going to pull some shit and on that day, in a prison in Colorado I fucking died, getting sentenced to Purgatory. It was like my life just stopped in its tracks. The life I’d built for the last 4 years as a father was just gone, like it had never even been there at all. And I was just stuck in some kind of limbo, unable to do anything but wallow in my misery. And for the last 14 years I’ve just been stuck. Hopeless. Basically dead inside. I shut everything down tight as fuck because honestly, I didn’t know if I could survive anything else. And regardless of how hard I try to numb myself from all feelings and emotions, despite how I avoided living at all cost, I still managed to live what seems like 100 lifetimes in the last 14 years.