A Snack for the Spirit – “Leftovers”   4 comments

Telling my story…God knows how much “we” love to tell our story. The thing is that when the story I’m telling is told from truth without all that crap that gets in the way eventually the story becomes about God. I can’t believe I’m doing life without all the stuff I used to keep me from feeling. Therefore, it must be a miracle — proving there must be a God.

That’s just the way I see it.


A friend came by today and our conversation drifted to an event some years earlier when she was arrested for drunk driving. “I was so ashamed,” she said, “Not because they nailed me – I really thought the cops were out to get me back then…It was when I saw my ten-year-old daughter watch as they took me away in handcuffs. I knew I was hurting me but I never thought what I was doing would hurt her too.”

What she described threw me back to 1983 – I never had children but I had the next best thing — A dog — A little West Highland Terrier, named Fleetwood.

I was recuperating from surgery after my arm had been severely broken as a result of stepping in front of an oncoming car. Although I had been drinking and smoking pot – I considered myself still quite capable because I was in complete control of my mind and body – or rather my mind and body were in complete control of me. My thoughts were clear, my steps were deliberate, and I never lost my balance when I darted across the highway in stiletto heels to out-maneuver the oncoming car.

None of what happened later — the surgery, my Aunt who raised me who was dying of cancer, my constant blackouts, were enough to change my course.

The Chelsea floor-through apartment where I had recently moved was long and narrow with no closets but it did have a fireplace. An unstained wooden wardrobe served as a closet and I kept a hatchet next to the pile of logs in front of the fireplace to chip off kindling.

It was morning when I heard the knock on the door. It was my neighbor from across the hall.

“Shelly, what’s happenin’?” I asked, ready for a new day and another reason to party.

“Do you remember last night?” she asked.

“I don’t know. I was home all night. Why?”

“You were screaming you were gonna kill Fleetwood so I got Bea down the hall ‘cause I knew she had a key to your place.  When we came in we found you banging around in the wardrobe with a hatchet screaming, ‘I’m going to kill you Fleetwood. I’m going to kill you.’”

I was silent — I didn’t know the person Shelly was talking about and besides…Fleetwood looked the same as always.

Shelly held me captive in her sights.

“Doreen — You’re an alcoholic.”

I was imagining the person she was describing with a hatchet in her hand the night before rattling around in the wooden wardrobe that suddenly resembled a coffin standing on end.

“Poor little Fleetwood,” I thought.

Shelly had me.

“My mother’s a therapist…and I think you should go see her.”

Later, Shelly had told me she knew someone who would love Fleetwood and I agreed to give her a new home.  When I dropped her off at someone named Lois’s 14th Street apartment building and set him down on the shiny lobby floor Lois sang out, “Come here Fleetwood,” He scurried into his new mommy’s arms without ever looking back.

— Through another’s eyes sometimes I can see more clearly than my own —










Posted November 14, 2010 by doreenbirdsell in Snacks for the Spirit

4 responses to “A Snack for the Spirit – “Leftovers”

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  1. Honestly had to laugh about poor little Fleetwood. It just doesn’t seem like you could have possibly exhibited such behavior. Thank God you are Sober. Do I need to worry about little Angel????


  2. That story terrified me. Thank you for sharing it. Your courage and dedication to your recovery from your past has been so significant to my own faith. When I want to moan about my life I think about your amazing book and life story and I go from doubt and fear to understanding that god is with all of us.
    God bless!


  3. I remember you during those days. Wow. Have you grown and blossomed. So happy for you.


    Christine Economos

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