For three years I fought insomnia with a prescribed sleeping pill called Ambien. On Christmas Day, 1999, my Dad died of a sudden heart attack. The next year I started abusing the pill to avoid grief. I lost my job and most of my friends. I put my family through hell. My life was unmanageable, and my addiction took control. I took the pills all day every day, going from doctor to doctor to get more prescriptions. Ambien has a hypnotic and amnesiac effect. It allows you to function in a complete blackout. The main thing that kept me alive was that I had a dog and a cat to take care of. They needed me.
On September 4th, 2000, I took 8 pills, went for a drive with my dog, fell asleep at the wheel and drove into a tree at 45mph. I totaled the car. There were no air bags, and I broke my face up badly. I was unrecognizable for a while. I had a plate drilled into my orbital socket to hold up my eye. I could easily have died, but none of that made a difference. What mattered was that the little being who kept me from drowning that year was in the backseat. What finally “woke me up” was that I put my dog’s life in danger. He actually survived without injury somehow.
I never took another sleeping pill after that day. I never drank alcohol again either, so my judgment would not be impaired. September 4th, 2000, is my sobriety date. Life gets better every year. I’ve never been so happy. Today I am releasing a music video called My Hurricane that tells this story. I hope it leaves you with a feeling of hope and a sense of triumph over the storms that life can sometimes bring.