Thomas La Grua's Journey to Awakening

October 25, 2010

Writing Myself to Freedom, Part 1

Filed under: Writing out the Mind: 2010-July 2, 2012 — Thomas La Grua @ 10:42 am

On the evening of September 27th 2010, I poured my last beer down the sink and that was it. That was my farewell party to alcohol. That act, my statement, my standing up is something I had put off, until I had reached the place where I teetered on the brink of no return, and I was left to either play my last card, or lose it. So, I played it.

Janice Joplin said, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to loose.” I agree and would add that, having nothing left to loose, also means having nothing left to hide.

Writing myself to Freedom

Part 1

I remember smelling beer on my Dad’s breath – I think it was Miller, Schlitz or Pabst Blue Ribbon – I guess those were his favorites. The first time I tasted a beer must have been when I was 6 to 9 years old because it was a time when my Dad was still around. I didn’t like the taste but there was something in it that let me know that one day I would. Perhaps, because it was the same smell I associated with my Dad’s breath. At least, that’s how I picture it now. In any case, I think I knew it would grow on me. I was probably 11 or 12 when I first experienced actually drinking. It was like; very quickly, alcohol became part of the adventure or experience. Mom would go to work at 7:30 am. Often I would catch a ride with her to school because she worked as the guidance counselor at the same school. At 4:30, she would return home, leave the car running in the driveway, go inside to go to the bathroom, yell for Paul and Maureen, and sometimes Tricia – as I recall, to hurry up. They’d pile back into the car and I wouldn’t see them again until 11:30 that night. Sometimes I’d be in bed when they returned, but not always.  And that’s how it went for as long as and whenever I was at home. I remember being somewhat angered by the knowledge that Mom spent all her supposedly free time efforts on Maureen and Paul and getting them to and from gymnastics. I didn’t think it was fair because there were 6 of us and all her time was devoted to the two of them and their gymnastics careers. However, I wasn’t consumed with anger because I also recognized I had complete freedom from the age of 8. The only thing that I didn’t have was adult guidance. I never did homework. In fact, it wasn’t until 8th grade that I think I started catching on to some things like reading. Had it not been for Mom being the local guidance counselor, I would have been forced to stay back at least a year. I remember in third grade sitting on the floor in the back of the class room. I think we were learning or practicing something extremely simple that I knew I should have understood, but when the teacher called on me, I couldn’t answer the question. I just had no idea about anything, absolutely nothing. In 4th grade, I remember that I was good at kickball – probably the best in the school. I remember in the field outside of school, pinning Tommy Schumacher on the ground and drooling spit in his face. I don’t know why I did that, but I’ve regretted it.  During 5th and 6th grades, I started noticing girls. Unfortunately, I had no idea about them except that they seemed to have what I wanted. Unfortunately, I was far too insecure and had no clue whatsoever as to how interact with them. The closest I got to them was when we were waiting in line in the hallway, my friend would take my hand and put it on one of her/their breasts, and later I would do the same for him. I never had any money, as the other kids did, unless I cleaned the house and Mom gave me a dollar. In 4th or 5th grade, I remember using that dollar or two. It was just after Easter, and jellybeans were on sale – a 2 pound bag for 20 cents. I bought two bags and took one to school the next day. I’m not sure how it occurred to me to do this; but during lunch time, I started selling the jellybeans for 10 cents per handful. Ten cents was the exact amount most of the kids had because that was the cost of an ice cream bar. Business skyrocketed because I could get twenty handfuls from each bag. Unfortunately, the store ran out of the super cheap old jelly beans, so that cut into my profit margins, but it was still good until one day I got called to the Principal’s office. Back then, I had no clue about anything. It’s as if I just woke one day and was just in this unfamiliar place. It wasn’t fear, or perhaps it was. Uncertainty is the closest word with which I can describe it. I just didn’t understand anything even the fact that I should have understood some things, because I recognized that others understood far more about the way things worked than I did. Some clarity arrived on the last day of 6th grade. I was standing next to the school bus as it was loading. I had time because it wasn’t going to leave for at least 5-10 minutes. I had been waiting for this day for some time because it met that the next school year I’d be moving to the 7th and 8th grade school – Black River Middle school. In realizing that this was it and I may never return here, I wanted to be able to remember as much as I could because I foresaw or knew/decided that in the future, I‘d be looking back. So, I turned to look at both the 1st – 2nd and 3rd – 6th grade schools, and I started to move through the memories. I went back to 1st grade and started moving forward. There was absolutely nothing there. I had almost no memories of anything until about sometime just around 4th grade. Instantaneously, it clicked that somewhere along the line; a huge chunk of memories had been swiped clean. As I got on the bus, I determined that I would investigate this further.

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1 Comment »

  1. Enjoyable and interesting read Thomas – thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Lindsay Craver — November 14, 2010 @ 5:19 am


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