(14 minute read)
In county jail, when an inmate in a cell near yours flushes their toilet, poo water can sometimes gurgle up into the basin of your sink💩🤢. It's funny to see people complain on FB about their anxiety filled lives after you've been to jail. #blessed #livelaughlove #bestlife... You don't know anxiety until you live in a room with no windows, where your own sink can turn on you in LITERALLY the shittiest way possible.🤢🤮
Like the birth of your first child, being locked up can not be explained, only experienced to get the full picture.
There's no "lesson" in this post in the interest of length. Simply my testimony, which I share so other addicts can relate, and find solace in the fact their suffering can end IF they get sober.//////
What put me in jail was another blackout. One awful night after a blur of alcohol and Ativan I ended up putting my hands on my step dad. And although "I" wasn't really "there", remnants of that night haunt me to this day. Thankfully, my family, especially my step father, are quick to forgive. And they love me very much. In fact, they forgave me way faster than I forgave myself. Which is typically the case.
Many people assume "rock bottom" is a singular event, this has not been my experience. The year leading up to me sitting in jail for assault, I had experienced infidelity in my marriage, divorce, losing my house, losing 90% of my time with my kids, legal issues, bankruptcy, and continued legal battles with my ex-wife. That YEAR was one big "rock bottom."
When I got out of jail, I was handed a mandatory no contact order that comes with an assault charge, meaning I could no longer go on my family's property. Since I lived there, this was sort of a problem.
Fast forward a few weeks, I was staying in a hotel room. Surviving off of some crypto I had saved and rum. The whole time in the hotel is a blur. I was extremely upset over what happened with my step father, so I drowned myself in booze and drugs. Suffice to say, I don't remember much.
At one point within the blur, I "came to" laying on the floor in the rooms closet, with my belt around my neck.
...This frightened me (obviously) as I am not particularly fond of suicide. It's never really been a part of my thought process. I was desperate, I was scared, i was alone, and I was plastered. I ended up calling a lifelong friend who lives in Hawaii and told him what was going on. He insisted I come to Hawaii and sober up until my court date in Spokane which was a few weeks out.
He bought me a round trip ticket and I left that night. Two things my friend has an abundance of is money, and generosity. It was basically an all inclusive Hawaiian rehab, complete with mansion and personal tour guide. I'm in debt to him a LOT. He's another friend that saved my life and did what was best for me when I couldn't. (😌I'm really good at picking my friends)
While I was there, I made plans to head to Portland after my court date. It seemed logical since my kids were there and I wasn't staying sober in Spokane. I said aloha to my friend, got my court business handled, rented a car, and headed to Portland.
Enterprise rep: "Sir, would you like to buy insurance for your rental car for $24.99 a day?"
Me: (knowing I couldn't pay that) NAH! what's the worst that could happen!?!?!?!?!?!?😐(*buttloads of foreshadowing)
Once I got to Portland I was BROKE. The last of my money went towards rent for a sober house on 82nd, which had 3 other men living in my room, and 9 men total on that floor, who all shared one bathroom... it was not ideal.
The one rule of the house was you can't drink ...Hence "sober house."😬
Well, guess what I did!?!
Yep! I was only living in Portland about a week, I had just gotten a job, I had just gotten sober, I was not even out of jail a month, and I relapsed, and blacked out.
In that blackout, I drove that uninsured rental car right off the road ...and totaled it. $$$$
The next day when they let me out of jail with my new DUI, my phone had a text message from my ex-wife with my mug shot on it followed by a text of your usual drama only an ex-wife can materialize.
Worse for wear, I opted to ignore her and concentrate on what I was going to say to the sober house manager when I got "home".
After an hour and a half of minimizing, the manager let me stay. Thank GOD, because I was now out a car, with a new job on the other side of town, if I got kicked out I'd be even more screwed.
That night, I was serviced with a summons to appear at an ex parte (emergency) hearing from my ex-wife's attorney. In it, he attempted to make the argument that since I got a DUI, I was unfit to share custody with my ex. And that all visitation with my kids should cease immediately.
Now... When I started doing these posts there was a conflict in my heart because a lot of my story unavoidably has her in it. And I respect her enough to try and not libel her name. She is the mother of my children and I love her in a "I don't love you at all whatsoever" sort of way. But, some careful explanations are required to paint the picture. So, in the upmost respect... Our divorce lasted 2 years. In which time, draining all of my money was part of her attorneys strategy. How do I know that? He deadass told me near the end of that two years (the cocky asshat). If I new then what I know now I would have been much more tactful with how I handled lawyers. Over $60k in CASH went to divorce attorneys. (lawyers don't take layaway). That was my equity in the house, that was the entirety of my savings, and that was the entirety of my 401k.
Fed up with lawyers, and because I could not afford one anyways. I showed up to the hearing unrepresented, with nothing but the truth and humility. They made their case, then I made mine. I kept it short and explained that I was indeed an alcoholic, I did get a DUI, and despite my best efforts, I had been relapsing.
The judge looked at my ex-wife and asked her just two questions.
Were the kids in Mr Lasko's care when he got the DUI?
And has he ever shown violence towards you or the children when he was drinking?
"Well, no..." She responded.
"Being an alcoholic does not disqualify you from being a parent." The judge said, "Your request is denied ma'am... And good luck Mr. Lasko."
I won't lie, that felt pretty good, I also found it ironic that when I finally wasn't paying tens of thousands of dollars on a blood sucking attorney was when I finally came out on top of a conflict with this woman.🙄
That cloud 9 I was on began to show signs of precipitation when I got back to my sober house. Standing on the front porch, talking to the house manager was none other than my ex-wife, who somehow beat me home. With a copy of my arrest report, she proceeded to stir up some drama, then got in her car and left.
I found a park restroom and hunkered down for the night. If you've seen "the pursuit of happiness" with Will Smith, that scene where he's in the public bathroom with his kid? Yeah, it was a lot like that except less diversity and more crying. Thank God my kids weren't with me.
I was only "on the street" for two days. My brother in Spokane was able to secure me a minivan for next to nothing. So I went by train, picked it up and drove it back to Portland.
I was working, so I figured I could live in the van about a month while I made enough money to pay for a room to rent somewhere.
There is a lot of stress involved in living in a car when you have a DUI arrest and aren't supposed to be driving.
I found a planet fitness by my work and joined. Not because I needed to get swole, but because for $20 a month, I got 24 hour access to showers and clean water. And 24 hour parking, so no police were making me move or shaking me down. It was brilliant.
Nights were cold. Food was a crap shoot. My father was usually around every week or two to slip me some money so I didn't starve. I kept my head down and worked my ass off every day.
Every Wednesday, I made it to my old church across town where my children would be for an activities night. It was a 2 1/2 hour bus and train ride one way. I distinctly remember having around $10 on a Monday night, and knowing a Max/bus ticket to get to my kids church was $5.00. Meaning I had $5.00 to spend on food to last me about three days. I ate crackers and drank a ton of water Monday night, all day Tuesday while working a 8 hour shift, and all day Wednesday while working an 8 hour shift. Wednesday night, I spent that $5.00 on a Max pass to make it to their church to see their smiling faces.🤗 Oftentimes it took a monumental amount of drive, resolve, and effort to do something simple like visiting your kids.
I won't lie, it's a little disheartening to do all that and get to your kids and they say "hi Dad!" Then turn around and continue playing😂. As a parent, you want to say "you stop right now and LOVE ME! GIVE ME ALL THE KISSES YOU POSSESS, CHILD!!!"😂. But, I kept my cool😬 it was extremely important to me that everything was business as usual for them. And it was.
After a little over a month, I had saved enough to rent a room. The room I found was in Happy Valley. It had a toilet, shower, kitchen, heat... Things you really appreciate after living in a parking lot. I did not have a bed or any furniture for that matter. I found a child's box spring and threw a foam egg crate and some sheets over it. I slept in my clothes most the time, and didn't buy any comforts really. I was in the mindset of "this is temporary so don't get comfortable."
Living in Happy Valley with my work in the outskirts of Tigard and still no license meant I needed to be up by 3:30 in the morning to catch the max and be to my shop on time. I would typically get back home around 7 or 8pm. This was my routine for months. Things were slowly getting better, I was able to stay sober by staying mindful and staying busy. The very little time I had at home I was either sleeping, or working on my divorce case.
After another few months, I upgraded yet again. I moved into a MASTER bedroom in a house in Beaverton near work. I bought a QUEEN sized air mattress. Not the lame blue ones! No! It was tall, with a "headboard" and a built in inflator! Spared no expense! 😌really out did myself😌
And a few months after that... 😊 I moved to where I am now, one of the nicest apartments in Happy Valley. I have all of my things out of storage, including my king sized sleep number bed😌😴😴😴 and at this point, I'm not even sure why I'm talking to you common folk and peasants 😌😂
Living like a King❤️
During my ascent, I backslid twice, but they were short lived and good learning experiences. They were necessary because they opened my eyes to the "sleeper" triggers that are the most deadly.
In the end, it was a mixture of assaulting a dear family member without my consent, attempting suicide without my consent, unknowingly driving blacked out and crashing, and sleeping in a public bathroom that helped me achieve my reckoning.
I was tired of atoning for someone whom I've never met. So I revoked his Visa by doing two things.
- I now tell everyone I am an alcoholic. It's hard to sneak drinks when everyone knows you can't. And you really don't want to drink when you know it will let everyone down. It keeps you accountable like no other way possible too.
- From the time I was in that minivan at planet fitness I decided to change my attitude to one of gratitude. ALWAYS be MINDFUL. And no matter what, stay positive.
Those things are my secret to staying sober.
Love you guys! Yes YOU!
Authored January 28th 2020