Below is a small section of my documentation of the worst years of my life. Only months before all hell officially broke loose, our farewell to Three Rivers Stadium was hugely significant for me.
Weekend of February 11th 2001 (written February 2006)
While I didn’t come out and say anything until this writing, this was a dark dark weekend that went a long way toward bringing me to the “confession” to Steph that was mentioned in an above section and as such I didn’t feel it should be left out. February 11th saw the end of Three Rivers Stadium and Steph and I, of course, went to Pittsburgh to see her come down. Three Rivers Stadium held so many memories for a lot of people. My first time there was in 1979 with my dad to see the soon to be World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates play two games. The years to come brought countless baseball games with Dad as well as my friends in college. And then of course from 1992 on it was all about the Steelers since my Dad and I had season tickets. From 90 on, most of these events saw me as high as a kite. But you know, that was a lot of the fun of it. Those were the good times, before it got ugly. When it was all about cooking sausages and drinking beer with friends and family before a game. The good times that I still miss so much. It was such an emotional time for me because, as I have since learned, I’m far to sensitive for my own good. One of the many therapists I’ve seen suggested that, and I agree. Seeing this building come down that opened about the time I was born meant the end of an era for Pittsburgh. And I knew very well it was an all too glaring symbol of the coming end of an era for me as well.
It had been almost a full year since the fire, and I was still drinking every day. Maybe not to the excess to come but it was well on its way, the fuse had been lit. Several failed attempts at trying to stop had convinced me that I was indeed screwed. Steph and I had made a weekend of this event as we did most events, this time staying at the Holiday Inn in Greentree. A cooler full of beer accompanied us on most of our early trips but by this time I took along the vodka too because beer just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I could hide it in the green Grolsch bottles and no one would notice. Well apparently I was still somewhat unaware of the volumes of alcohol I required at the time because I was completely out by early Saturday evening. I’ll never forget going for a walk around the hotel and finding myself at the bar spending whatever I had left in my pockets on vodka. I sat there so desperate for where I needed to be, but I was too far away for what money I had and reality and depression just smacked me in the face. What had I become? My dear wife was in the room and instead of being with her enjoying our weekend away I was in a hotel bar embarrassing myself by ordering expensive shots of vodka that still weren’t about to be enough. To me it felt like I had hit bottom. Of course it was nothing compared to the levels I sunk to later, but at the time still significant, because I think for the first time I truly realized where this was headed.