Well, let’s see. If I can piece this together, maybe I can understand how we got here.

First there was the sleeping pills. I took a few in that first week. We didn’t sleep on the bed, we slept on the futon/couch. Literally, we were hanging on to each other for dear life. Asleep at 12, awake at 4. There were, I think, some movies, too.

A friend had said to me afterwards, soon afterwards, in an email: “I hope you’ve got some good sleeping pills.” And he was right, it got us through that first week. But, of course, chemical dependency seemed like a problem to avoid. (We made a solemn promise on the hospital bed, with what was left of our daughter still in the room. No born-again, no alcoholism.) But with those sleeping pills, it would have been nice, to say, “well, eff it all” and I’m out. But I had someone else to take care of, someone else to make sure got to sleep.

So many nights I would lay awake, listening to her (finally) steady breathing. And then thought, which kills me that I am not thought, took over. And then I’d get up. I’d read things online, play stupid flash games (i won the stick football world cup too many times to count), watch TV shows that I hated on free video sites. Or stare. Then, around 2 or 3, think: okay, I have to take a pill.

And the few times I did, it felt deliciously unhealthy. Like when I was so upset about a girl, back in college. Subway for a foot-long veggie, and then Dairy Queen for a strawberry cheesecake blizzard. There’s no nap like a nap after that.

So I’d crawl into bed, apprentice Coleridge, and follow the sacred river Alph down, down, down.

And the next morning, I always – always – felt like crap. The tears I couldn’t summon hours earlier felt so much closer. My batch of 10 has been whittled down to 6 in just under six months. That’s not habit forming, is it? Maybe I’ll take one tonight.

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