Category: alcoholism

Revised Episodes of Winter Dreams eps. 20 to 26


Episode Twenty:

“Yeah, I heard something about that,” Rick answered.

“Well, it’s true, but the story has been greatly exaggerated. I spent about two weeks in a psychiatric rehabilitation facility in San Francisco. I was there basically for observation so that the doctors could make a diagnosis,” Misty explained.

“So, what did the doctors come up with?” Rick asked.

“At that time they told me it was manic depression. My psychiatrist in Winnipeg changed the diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder.”

“Yeah, I remember you telling me about that. Do you need to take medication?’

“Yes, lithium. For a long time, I wasn’t really taking it. I just lied to my doctor and my parents telling them that I was taking the lithium regularly. I got busted when they eventually took a blood test. The test showed that there was no trace of lithium in my body.”

“Why didn’t you take your medication?”

“Because it made me feel worse. To be more precise I didn’t feel any emotions at all when I first started taking it. Plus, it was making me gain weight.”

“So, do you take lithium now?” Rick asked.

“No. My new psychiatrist in Winnipeg put me on chlorpromazine after he changed my diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder,” Misty answered.

The restaurant was starting to get very smoky. It appeared that most of the customers were puffing hard on their cigarettes while they sucked back the strong Salisbury House coffee. The smoke in the air was starting to make Rick’s eyes water.”

“Let’s go back to Memorial Park. It’s getting too smoky in here for me,” said Rick.

Rick and Misty started walking back across the Osborne bridge. Misty thought she saw the shadowy figure of a man trying to climb up on the railings of the bridge.

Rick said, “It looks like that guy is going to try to jump over the bridge.”

Episode 21:

Both Rick and Misty started yelling, “Hey man, stop! What are you trying to do?”

“Leave me alone. I’m going to jump,” the man answered.

“Let’s talk a bit first,” Misty said.

“Talk about what?” the man asked.

“About anything. Misty and I have been looking for someone interesting to talk to.” Rick answered.

“I’m not an interesting person and anyway you’ve got each other to talk to,” the man said.

“Let me be the judge of that. How about the three of us go to the Sals and get a cup of coffee? It’s starting to get chilly out here.” Rick said.

“I don’t even have enough money for a coffee, man, and I just smoked my last cigarette,”

“What’s your name?” Misty asked.

“Norman or just Norm.”

“Hi, I’m Misty and this is my boyfriend, Rick.”

“Like I said, I haven’t got enough money to go to the Sals and I’m kind of busy here.”

“Okay. I’ll tell you what. You come down from the railing and I’ll pay for your coffee and anything else you want to eat. Don’t worry about cigarettes. I just opened a new pack. How about it?” Rick asked.

“Well, I guess I could have my last coffee and cigarette before I leave this world.” Norm answered.

“That’s great. I’ll give you a smoke right now,” Rick said.

When they got back the Salisbury House, Norm ordered a Big Nip, and an order of fries and a coffee.

“Thanks guys. I haven’t had anything to eat yet today. My dad kicked me out at around ten this morning,” Norm said.

“So what have you been doing all day to keep warm?” Misty asked.

“I’ve been riding the bus. My dad bought me a monthly bus pass before I got the boot,” Norm said. “I don’t know what to do or where to go. Two months ago my mom kicked me out of her place.”

“Don’t worry we’ll figure something out,” Misty said.

Episode 22:

Norman Robinson was only nineteen years old, but he was already starting to take on the appearance of a homeless person. He was tall and very thin. Misty noticed that Norman had a missing front tooth. He had a large hole in the front of his navy blue parka that made it look like he had vomited on his coat. The hole was actually a result of Norman helping his dad remove a defective battery from his car. In the process of completing this task, Norman had gotten some battery acid on his jacket. The acid had burned the hole in it.

Misty turned to Rick and said, “Let’s take Norm over to my place. I think my dad might like to talk to Norman.”

“What makes you say that?”  Rick asked, looking somewhat befuddled.

“My dad has changed a lot since the summer. I’ll tell you about it later, but he now has a job working at a homeless center,” Misty answered.

“Wow. Lloyd has a steady job now,” Rick said.

“Look you guys have done enough for me already. After I finish my coffee and smoke I’ll just walk back to the bridge,” Norman said.

“I don’t think that’s such a great idea,” Rick said. “You don’t have a place to go tonight, do you?”

“Well, no-“

“That settles it. You’re coming with us,” Rick said firmly.

Rick, Misty and their new friend walked back to Rick’s car that was parked on a street next to Memorial Park. When Rick tried to start his car the engine wouldn’t turn over.

“Damn,” Rick said. “I just put a new battery in two weeks ago,”

“Open the hood Rick and let me have a look,” Norman said.

“In less than a minute Norman asked Rick to try starting the car again. This time the engine turned over immediately.

“How did you do that?” Rick asked.

“It was just a loose cable. I was training to be an auto technician so I knew what to check first.”

“Wow, thanks a lot man,” Rick said, feeling both surprised and grateful.

Episode 23:

One morning, Misty’s mother, Sheila Roberts was doing her morning devotions. As a devout Christian, Sheila had long established a habit of having a quiet time with the Lord before she started her day. Her devotional time included reading from her Bible, praying for herself and others as well as remaining quiet and waiting for God to speak to her. Today, Sheila heard the Lord speak to her spirit, “Sheila, I’m going to do a great work in your husband, Lloyd, because I love him very much. I am asking you to include Lloyd in your prayers every day.”

Sheila did not hear an audible voice, but she knew in her heart that she had heard from God. After the incident at the rock concert during the summer, Sheila had been thinking about Lloyd. By this time, she had forgiven Lloyd for allowing his daughters to get involved in a dangerous situation. She had loved Lloyd at one time, but since she became a Christian and Lloyd didn’t, Sheila felt that her husband would have a negative influence on their children. She could not say that Rick was a bad person. In many ways he was a good man, but she could no longer tolerate his immaturity and his harmful addictions. What she really wanted was a godly husband and Lloyd certainly was not. Sheila decided to call her pastor Randy Neufeld to discuss with him what the Lord had told her.

Episode 24:

Lloyd Roberts was just waking up from a short nap he had after supper. As be reached for his pack of cigarettes, Lloyd could still remember the dream he had. He was in that zone where he was just coming out of the dream state, but was not yet fully awake. Lloyd was used to having many dreams while he slept, but there was something different about the ones that he had been having lately. His most recent dreams all seemed to have some spiritual or religious theme to them.

A few minutes ago, Lloyd had seen Jesus in his dream holding a little lamb in his arms. The other night he dreamed that he was sitting in a quiet, peaceful location by a stream. When he turned his head he could see a man who looked like Jesus waving for him to walk over to where he was standing. Lloyd scratched hic head before putting on his baseball cap with the Ford logo on it. He had started to notice a bald spot near the top of his head and thought that if he covered it up he wouldn’t have to think about it. What he was now thinking about was the significance of his dreams. His daughter, Sasha had been a Christian for awhile now, but Lloyd was wondering what kind of influence her new boyfriend was having on her beliefs. Lloyd expected Sasha would be home in a little while. He would ask her what she made of his dreams.

Lloyd had recently attained employment as a residential care worker at The Main Street Mission. He found that of the many jobs that he had worked over the years this was probably one of the few that he actually enjoyed. Lloyd liked the street people that he got to know and was starting to feel that his life was finally starting to have some meaning.

Lloyd was beginning to mature as he entered his mid forties. The incident that happened at the rock festival had shaken Lloyd up. It now occurred to him that he had some serious responsibilities as a parent.

Episode 25:

Lloyd’s dog, Pigpen started barking loudly while scratching the front door with his paws.

“Hang on. I’ll be right there.” Lloyd hoped that his voice was loud enough to be heard outside the door.

When Lloyd answered the door he was greeted by Misty and Rick and a young man that he did not recognize.

Lloyd moved closer to Rick to give him a hug. “Hey, man, I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age. Pardon the pun, Pigpen.”

“Hey, Dad. I’d like to introduce you to our new friend, Norm. Rick and I just met him tonight at The Sals on Osborne,” Misty said, while brushing some snow off her coat.

“Why don’t you guys park yourselves in the living room while I put on some coffee. I’d offer you guys a beer, but I’ve been on the wagon for awhile now.”

“Yeah, Dad’s been sober for six months now. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous,” Misty said proudly, just before she sat down on the couch.

“At the last AA meeting they gave me my sixth month pin,” Lloyd said proudly as he walked towards the kitchen.

After the coffee had perked Misty brought out a silver tray with the cups, coffee and creamer.

Lloyd sat down in his black recliner.

“I’m sorry I haven’t been around to see you Lloyd. I’ve been keeping a low profile since Sasha and I broke up,” Rick explained.

“That’s what I figured,” Lloyd said. “Well you don’t have to worry about that Rick. Sasha’s cool with it. She says she still likes you, but she has a new boyfriend now. In fact, they’ll probably be here soon. Lloyd then turned his attention to the new guest.

“So how did you get to talking with Rick and Misty?”

“Actually, I first met them on the Osborne Bridge. I was getting ready to jump in the river,” Norm answered.

Episode 26:

One day in August Rick walked to the Canada Employment Center to see if he could get some help finding a job. He was two credits short from attaining his high school diploma and realized that with this small amount of course work he would need to at least, get a part time job. At this time, he did not think that he would return to playing hockey for another season. Last year had been much too stressful for him and now he would have a lot of free time on his hands. Rick felt that he would need to get a job to keep his parents happy.

As he entered the employment center Rick was nervous. He had worked one summer at his dad’s printing plant and had a very negative experience while working there. Rick did not yet realize that he lacked the manual dexterity, fine motor skills and spatial reasoning required for most factory jobs.

Rick walked up to the reception desk and was told to pull a number out of a machine. He was directed to take a seat in the waiting room and wait until his number was called.

Rick found an empty seat and took a look around the main floor of the employment center. It was a very drab place that rendered a rather depressing mood. After waiting approximately fifteen minutes Rick heard his name called and was greeted by a young attractive female who asked him to take a seat in her work area. The employment counsellor did not have a closed- in office. Her office space was separated from her co-workers by grey rectangular partitions. This arrangement didn’t give the client any feeling of privacy as one could hear what people in other sectioned off work areas were saying.

The employment counsellor shook hands with Rick and said, “Hello Richard, my name is Arlene Johnson. What can I do for you today?”

“You can just call me Rick. I’m here to find a job.”

“What kind of work are you looking for?”

“I’m not sure,” Rick answered. “I don’t know what kinds of work are available to me.”

“Well, that all depends upon your education and work experience.”

“I’ve got my grade 11 and I’m just two credits shy of my high school diploma. I worked at my dad’s printing plant one summer and I used to have a paper route.

“Do you like working with your hands Rick?”

“Not very much. I’m not very good with my hands.”

“I have to be honest with you. Most of the jobs you could apply for require a grade twelve education and manual dexterity or fine motor skills. We occasionally get referrals from employers for manual labor jobs, but I don’t have any referrals right now,” Arlene said.

Rick was now feeling very uncomfortable. “So I guess you really don’t have anything for me today?”

“Not really. What do you do in your spare time?”

“I play hockey, watch tv, listen to music and read.”

“But you don’t do much work with your hands?”

“No, not really, but I read a lot,” Rick said feeling insulted.

“Listen Rick. Can I be blunt?”

“Yeah,” Rick replied feeling annoyed.

“You need to get your high school diploma and you need to take up a hobby where you have to use your hands. After you do that come back and see me.”

“Thank you for your time,” Rick said as he got up to leave Arlene’s work area. When he got outside Rick lit up a smoke and said to himself, “So that’s that. I’ll go back to school to get my two credits and I’ll play hockey for one more year.”

Episode 27:winter 2

Episode 25 of Winter Dreams by Ken David Stewart


Episode 25:
Lloyd’s dog, Pigpen started barking loudly while scratching the front door with his paws.
“Hang on. I’ll be right there.” Lloyd hoped that his voice was loud enough to be heard outside the door.
When Lloyd answered the door he was greeted by Misty and Rick and a young man that he did not recognize.
Lloyd moved closer to Rick to give him a hug. “Hey, man, I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age. Pardon the pun, Pigpen.”
“Hey, Dad. I’d like to introduce you to our friend, Norm. Rick and I just met him tonight at The Sals on Osborne,” Misty said while brushing some snow off her coat.
“Why don’t you guys park yourselves in the living room while I put on some coffee. I’d offer you guys a drink, but I’ve been on the wagon for awhile now.”
“Yeah, Dad’s been sober for six months now. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous,” Mindy said just before she sat down on the couch.
“At the last AA meeting they gave me my sixth month pin,” Lloyd said proudly as he walked towards the kitchen.
After the coffee had perked Misty brought out a silver tray with the cups, coffee and creamer.
Lloyd sat down in his black recliner.
“I’m sorry I haven’t been around to see you Lloyd. I’ve been keeping a low profile since Sasha and I broke up,” Rick explained.
“That’s what I figured,” Lloyd said. “Well you don’t have to worry about that Rick. “Sasha’s cool with it. She says she still likes you, but she has a new boyfriend now. In fact, they’ll probably be here soon. Lloyd then turned his attention to the new guest.
“So how did you get talking with Rick and Misty?”
“Actually, I first met them on the Osborne Bridge. I was getting ready to jump in the river,” Norm answered.images 17

Do You Trust Me?


Do You Trust Me?
This afternoon I heard God speaking to my heart (in other words I didn’t hear an audible voice), but I knew it was Him trying to get something important across to me and it was even meant for others to hear. That’s why I’m writing this blog post.
I was talking to my wife this morning and a paraphrase of the following message was given to me. I know that there are likely many of you who think it’s unlikely that God would use me as His communication tool. My answer to this is that God once spoke via a mule. Check out Numbers 22:28 in the Bible.
As I mentioned in a previous blog post I am presently up against a sizeable mountain in my own life. It reminds me of the Elvis Presley song, ‘You Gave Me a Mountain’.
In relation to my mountain God said, “What about it Ken? Do you trust Me to get you out of this mess and into a favorable place? Or more generally, do you trust Me with your life?”
In twelve step recovery groups they use Step Three which says, ‘Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.” I’m glad that the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous added “as we understand him” to step three as I often do not understand God.
Taking Step Three is a huge step as it means that we are surrendering our control over a person or situation and are leaving the problem in God’s hands. This is where the rubber meets the road. We are putting total trust in God’s abilities and compassion toward us.
God always gives us a choice. He told me,” If you want to Ken, you can carry this burden yourself. I won’t try to stop you from worrying, losing sleep, getting all stressed out and all the other delightful joys of being your own boss. Like Frank Sinatra, you can say, “I did it my way.”
“Or, on the other hand you can leave your problems with me and trust Me for a favorable outcome.”
I choose the second option.
Picture 47

Revised Edition of The Lake Demon Chapter Twelve:


Chapter Twelve:

“Oh, I know that you will, but not until at least one year from now. Lionel, I’m granting you a sabbatical leave starting today. Don’t worry about money. The university will continue to send you pay cheques over the next year. You’ve been paying into the deferred salary leave plan for several years now and you certainly deserve a break from teaching. I have full confidence that in one year you will return to your duties as a new man. This university owes you, Lionel. In the past you have been one of the best teachers this university has ever had.”
Although Lionel had been very disheartened from hearing the negative reports from his students he knew that they were true. However, he had to admit that he felt relieved like a great burden had been lifted off his shoulders. Lionel knew that he was not in any shape to continue teaching at this time in his life.
“Thank you, Edward. You have been very kind to me. I must admit that I am far from over the death of my wife. She meant the world to me and we had such a wonderful life together. Lionel began to sob and then checked himself. Don’t worry about my performance. When I return to work next year I will not only be as good a teacher as I used to be. I will be better.”
“ I know you will, Lionel. Oh, by the way, we’ll need to think of a research project that you will be working on during your sabbatical. That’s the administration’s rule, but don’t worry about it. It’s just a formality. When you think of a project you might be interested in, give me a call.”
“I will definitely do that and I”ll get back to you with my answer sometime next week.”
Picture 37

Revised Edition of The Lake Demon Chapter Eleven


Chapter Eleven:

Today, however, the mood in the dean’s office was sombre. Dean Sanderson asked Lionel to take a seat in his office.
“How are you feeling, Lionel?” asked Dean Sanderson.
“A bit nervous to tell you the the truth, Edward. The email you sent me stated that this meeting was urgent,” said Lionel.
“I’m afraid that this will not be an easy meeting for either of us. Frankly, Lionel, I’ve heard some disturbing reports from your students since your return to the university. I’ve also made some observations myself that have me worried about you, “said Dean Sanderson with compassion in his voice.
“What are you referring to, specifically? What have my students been saying about me?” asked Lionel.
“A few of them have been telling me that you don’t seem to be yourself after your recent return to work. They say that you have been coming to class looking disheveled and tired. One of them said that you are now lecturing in a monotone voice and that you appeared to be in your own world. Another one said that you often show up to class ten minutes late and that you often lose your train of thought during your lectures. The most disturbing report I heard was that students have said that they’ve frequently smelled alcohol on your breath.”
“Did they say anything else?” asked Lionel.
“Yes, they did. Many of your students have told me that it takes forever for you to get their term papers and lab reports marked.”
“They’ve painted a very bleak picture of my job performance,” said Lionel shifting uneasily in his chair. He felt his face starting to redden.
“Yes, indeed they have. But there’s one important fact to keep in mind, Lionel. All these negative reports have occurred after your loss of Edith. I have also noticed a big change in you. You now appear to be slouching and you walk very slowly with your head down. You now rarely have coffee with the other faculty in the lounge.”
“Well, now that you’ve told me all this Edward, I’ll try to pull my socks up and do a better job,” said Lionel.
Picture 36

Revised Edition of The Lake Demon Chapter Ten


Chapter Ten:

Edith passed away four months after her diagnosis. Lionel was devastated by his loss and fell into a deep depression. His doctor ordered Lionel to take at least six months off work. Lionel’s doctor prescribed the antidepressant, Cymbalta as part of his treatment. He didn’t tell his doctor that he had been turning more and more to Jack Daniels for relief during his time of grief.
When Lionel returned to work after seven months he was still not psychologically ready to assume his regular duties. He received an email from Dean Sanderson asking him to meet him in the dean’s office immediately.
After about a ten minute wait, Dean Sanderson’s secretary, Marjorie Wilkes told Lionel that the dean was ready to see him in his office.
Lionel had been in the dean’s office several times during his time at the university. He always liked the powerful smell of leather that abounded in the dean’s office. This time was different though. He had fond memories of his former visits with Dean Edward Sanderson. Lionel and Dean Sanderson were both in their mid- sixties. Both men had put on weight over the years and would now best be described as stout in appearance.
During his visits with the dean in the past they would often reminisce about the times that they both were lecturers in the Biology Department at the university. Dean Sanderson had always been the more ambitious of the two friends. He became Department Head in his third year and had quickly climbed the academic ladder to administrative positions within the university. The dean had often praised Lionel on the many positive reviews of his teaching performance that he was getting from his students.
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