I previously wrote this in 2018, a few months after rehabilitation and the dream. I had a continuation of this dream last night, which I will post separately as A Walk in the Orchard Again. I found this saved in my cloud. If you enjoy, please subscribe. Links at the bottom.
Going back to the beginning of 2017, I was a complete and total disaster. The anger, destruction, self-hatred, and the daily alcohol abuse was in full bore. When I say daily, there was not a day that went by that I was not consuming at the very least, 750ml of vodka. Those days typically ended up in “blackouts”. There were some good days where I got drunk, but just went to bed. The alcohol abuse made my mental illness amplify. Episodes of rage, mania, anger, and complete delusions occurred regularly. Those all were shared with me by friends and loves ones. The pain of not remembering led me to consume more shortly after an episode was shared with me. Unable to grasp what I had done and the pure terror of deep questioning of, “Who the fuck am I?”. It was fear. When faced with the reality of my actions, all I could see was what I had endured as a child and early adolescence. Was I mimicking what I experienced? Why can I not remember these things. Problem was, this had been going on strong for 12 years with the alcohol abuse unleashing unbridled episodes.
I had gotten to a point to where I was at work having to start sneaking vodka around midafternoon to keep the shakes and withdrawal symptoms at bay. This had started in 2016 and had gradually moved from right after work to a few hours past lunch. On top of that, I was being a bad husband, father, friend, and at times, a leader at work. Which I was a director over several from 2008. My employer saw it, as I went to CrossFit with him and was usually loaded. Yes, not a good idea. I was sick. Very sick.
The day came in late November 2017, right after Thanksgiving, that I had run out of my stash at work and was too busy to make it to the liquor store. Quite honestly, money was tight. I made a very good living yet was spending hundreds a week on alcohol. Some weekend tirades, I would spend much more. When the workload let up, I left an hour early to rush home to get a drink. By the time I arrived, I was hurting and in a complete manic state. I skidded into the driveway and barely turned off my vehicle trying to get into the house as quick as possible. When I breached the door, I ran straight to the kitchen and grabbed my bottle of Grey Goose and just turned it up. I had about 6 good swallows down and I started vomiting into the sink. My emotions had erupted causing me to cry uncontrollably. My wife came in and found me in this state and did what she was awesome at. Consoling me. For what? This is the woman I truly loved with all my heart, but continuously was a bad partner in the marriage. I looked at her through my tears and simply said,” I need help”.
Never had I succumbed to asking for help. I was not raised that way. It was always, “Don’t be a pussy, move on, get over it!”, and much more. Within a few days, I had the support of my employer, doctor, and wife. I entered a rehabilitation facility for substance abuse the first week of December 2017. It was a week I will never forget. That will be a story for another time, I will now take you back to the previous night before all this came to a head ending with me asking for help.
Going about my normal routine, I got home. Went straight to the kitchen. Grabbed my big tumbler and mixed a drink. Three parts vodka and one-part 7up. This was my usual mix. I cannot remember much up to the time I went to bed that night, I do, however, remember the dream. So vividly, I remember it to this very day in full detail.
My dream started with me walking through a very dense wooded area. It was dark and somewhat unsettling. I saw light breaking through the trees and followed it. When I reached the source, I was stepping out of the tree line into a rolling meadow that was in a very beautiful valley. Running through the middle, was a bubbling stream with a few large boulders on the banks. However, I noticed right off, there was this orchard of trees to the right of the stream. Not perfectly aligned but seemed in a particular order. I walked down to inspect the trees, as they all looked wilted and dead. Very unusual look for dead trees. The best way I can describe it, they looked as if some nuclear blast had hit them. They were bent, gnarled, burned, and devoid of any foliage or fruit. All the groundwork around them were surprisingly fine. Confused at how this happened, I was met with a very calm,” Hello, David!”. I whipped around to find a man sitting on a boulder that I had just looked at, and he was not there. Either way, I responded with a greeting back and started to make my way over to him.
As I walked closer, I inspected his appearance. He was just not very large by todays standards. Long brownish hair, very highlighted from being in the sun most likely. Bearded and wearing what I can describe as a Jesus outfit. I know, I know. Yet, his appearance looked nothing like the artist depictions we have all seen. It is just where my mind went. His clothing was similar, but not exactly like what you see in artist renditions as well. Either way, as someone not very religious, I did not think much of it in the dream. It was after I woke up that I would analyze this in detail. Why? Because hands down, this was one of the most lucid vivid dreams I had ever had.
As I reached where he sat, he asked me how I felt about the dead trees. His voice was calm collected and his smile literally melted any defense I had about talking to this stranger. I responded that it was so strange that all these trees were this way but nothing surrounding them were harmed, dead, or scorched. He smiled again and calmy pointed to a shovel.
“David, will you help me plant new trees?”
Now I am no arborist or landscaper, I just felt agreeing would be the right thing. So, I did.
As I dug up these trees, he talked about many things. I remember them all. He spoke a lot about my childhood and asked me many questions. When I would be vague or withhold on an answer, he would answer the question for me. This made me very uneasy and sort of sad. Yet the sound of his voice, cadence of his speech, and his compassion comforted me. I seriously got lost in digging and listening to him. It seemed like an eternity. As I dug up a tree, I would plant a sapling. Over and over this went on.
As I finally planted the last sapling, I went over to the stream. I needed to clean my hands and face, and to get a drink. The man walked up and sat back on the rock. He asked me to set beside him. I was a little leery about it, yet something just told me to do it. As I sat beside him, he put his hand around me and rested it on my shoulder. He pointed to the now orchard of saplings. He went on to explain that the trees represented people. People in my life. I had done that damage from something inside of me that I had not recognized and confronted. He knows I hurt, but I need to let it go and reach out for help in healing. Told me the alcohol abuse was letting it have free reign over me. That everything takes time, just like how I destroyed those trees(people). That when you do such destruction, you must stop completely, otherwise, before long, nothing will be left. When you stop in time, you can replant those trees. Then we got up, and we started walking through this new orchard. He went on to explain that as we have planted these saplings, they will take time to grow. As it will take time for me to completely heal. Patience, honesty, and virtue. He told me I have them, though I hide them. Kept reminding me of who I really was and not the person I made up or allowed to take over. He told me that with time, the trees will grow and bear beautiful, nourishing, life giving fruit. They will be not only for me, but others to enjoy as well.
His hand softly laid on my shoulder the entire time from the sitting on the rock to the walk in the orchard. When he spoke, he spoke softly and within a foot of my ear. He finally turned to hug me. When he hugged me, he said, “David, I love you more than you will ever know. Yet that is not enough as you must do the same for you!”.
I woke up. I was a little ruffled by the dream and how real it seemed. I went about my morning routine and hopped in the shower. When I got out of the shower, I noticed something in the mirror. There was a light red shape on my shoulder. I touched it to see if it hurt. As I touched it, I felt overwhelming love. I cannot make this up or really explain this in words people would understand or believe. I am just sharing what happened. Around lunch time, I came from lunch and went into the locker room for employees. I took off my tie and my shirt. I looked into the mirror, and it was still there. I found myself panicked and emotional about the dream and made it a few more hours before I went home to end up telling my wife that I needed help.
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