It Is What It Is – what’s next

Robert Rosolanko

I pull up at my brother Nick’s house.

This was supposed to be my house. This was supposed to be my wife. This was supposed to be my baby daughter. This was supposed to be my life.

Showtime: time to be who I think I should be, who I think they want me to be, who I think I want to be. Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.

I’m glad to see my family. My niece has got to be the only thing left that can put an honest feeling of happiness in my gut. I find myself being jealous of her innocence, of her honesty, of her not giving a shit what anyone things about her.

She is herself, with no hesitation.

A small crack begins to form as I talk with Nick and his wife Kristen. I let my guard down for a few seconds, and tell them that I have a “situation” at work involving money. Then, as I have trained myself to do, I cover up the crack with thirty-five layers of quick-setting concrete.

Just like I did with Donna Marie.

Just as I do with everyone that could possibly find out what’s behind the curtain of the great and powerful Oz.

I send Nick and Kristen away to bring me back the broom of the bad witch. And as with the great Oz, this will only delay what appears to be more and more the inevitable. I can’t keep everything inside anymore.

As I talk with my brother and sister-in-law about the goings-on in my life, I feel as if I’m reading a book, or more to the point, writing a book. What would sound better here? I can’t tell the truth, what if they see my happiness? What if they see that I’ve made a decision? What if they hear my resolution between my finely placed lines?

I call Charlotte. Why do I do that? Punching the bruise, that’s what I’ve gotten used to calling it. I can see the bruise plain as day on my chest, yet I continue to pound away. Einstein said that the definition of insanity was repeating an action over and over yet expecting different results? Bullshit. Insanity is having a blister on your left thumb yet cutting off your right arm to “distract” you from the pain of the blister.

I sleep. Soundly.

I wake up.

I sob.

I struggle with decisions already made, even though they have already been decided.

This thought is the first indication that maybe I don’t know that the hell I’m doing here.

Reverting to habit, I check my e-mail. Surprisingly, I find that I have several e-mails from “customers” wanting to know why their gift cards are now not worth anything. Suddenly, I realize something that I had not thought of before.

Screwing me over is one thing, but what about other people?

What good would my decision be if it left others getting screwed?

Yea, like I need more guilt. Quickly, I decide to refund everyone. Everyone gets their money back. Gift Cards cancelled? Here’s your money back. Gift Cards not cancelled? Who cares, here’s your money back.

I feel a small bit of relief. Families won’t lose money because of me. Contractors won’t lose money because of me. Hell, some people will actually make money because of me.

Wow, what a great guy I am.

I am a thief.

I am a criminal.

I am a drug addict.

I am a cheater.

I am a bad person.

I am not worthy of love.

Yes, what a great guy I am.

The weekend comes and goes without much notice. I speak again with Charlotte, and continue to cut off additional body parts to relieve the pain of my blister. The lying continues. I seek some type of attention from her by hinting at my decision. She asks me to swear on my niece that I won’t do anything stupid. I do. And more gets chipped away from the tidbits of dignity left inside.

The Emmy awards are Sunday night. I watch the pretentious assholes walk up and cry as they accept their golden sticks. Now they are definitely first class, you can just tell. Ah yes, Sarcasm…the poor man’s wit. Yet another one of my most popular defensive mechanisms.

Monday morning, March 1st – D Day.






I awake and for a split second, I forget my troubles. Sort of like when you wake up after a night of “successful” drinking, and for a split second, your body doesn’t hurt. Your head doesn’t ache. You almost feel “normal.” This is what that split second was; normal.

Then, the remembrance washes over me like a wave of nausea right before you give up the goods. How quickly I forgot this sickness.

I stumble around the house, wandering upstairs, then downstairs, then upstairs again. I stare at the computer, and finally calculate that I have sent over $70,000 from my Paypal account back to my “customers”. Though I try to feel some sort of satisfaction from this, it doesn’t happen. Guilt and Shame are the feelings de jour this morning.

I am a criminal.

I am a drug addict.

I am an alcoholic.

I am a cheater.

I am a bad person.

I am not worthy of love.

Walking around and around and around and around. Where am I going? Why am I putting this off? What has been the only real feeling of peace, of satisfaction, of control that I have had? It is all I can do to try and control anything anymore. This is my decision. Nobody can tell me what to do.

I feel ready, yet at the same time hesitant though I can’t figure out why. I take out 90 of my closest friends to join me in the celebration. They have been there with me and for me over the past few years.

They have been my confidants.

     You don’t have to hide from us, we’ll be here whenever you need us.

They have comforted me when I needed support.

     It’s going to be OK Rob, you can always come back to us.

They have not judged me when others did so.

     Nobody understands you like we do…nobody ever will.

They have shared in my celebrations.

     You can feel this good all of the time.

They have shared in my tears.

     You don’t have to feel this bad, let us help you.

They are powerful, I am weak.

They are powerful.

I am weak.

I am flushing my closest friends down the toilet.

I am lying flat on my brother’s bathroom floor, my last chance for peace swirling lower and lower into the toilet’s bottomless pit.

what have i done.

I am terrified.

     We could have helped you

I am hopeless

     We would have made everything work out just fine

I am weak

     We could have made you strong

I can’t go back

     What the hell did you do that for? You were right all along Rob, you are a drug addict alcoholic weak minded pussy who can’t do anything the right way

My sobbing is uncontrollable. I am emitting sounds through my throat from deep inside my gut; from inside whatever part of my soul I have left. In what will become constant occurrences during the next few weeks, I run out of oxygen from crying and screaming. This makes me dizzy, and I go to lie down…then realize that I’m already on the floor.

I think there are parts of your brain that are permanently wired to seek certain comforts and people during tough times. Before I knew what was happening, I found myself on the phone with my mom. Amazing how your instincts can take over and you seek shelter from the storm. A comfortable comfort, like a familiar college sweatshirt, or your favorite blanket.

You need to come over right now.

     I find myself saying to her.


It’s difficult to breathe. Ironic how my life has just been saved, yet I feel more helpless and terrified then ever. I make it out of the bathroom, and pick up the phone again. I call Donna Marie.

I have never been a fan of organized religion. Yet there was always something appealing to me about the Catholic ritual of going to confession. It seemed like if you saved up enough sins, you could bring them all to a priest at once and get absolved, cleansed and forgiven all at once. It’s like getting tangerines, tires and tampons at Wal-Mart…one stop shopping.

Looking back now, I can see that I was about to have the first honest conversation I had had in years. The beginning of many to come. My first confession.

No pretense.

No fabrications.

No bullshit.

Just me, standing naked and shivering in the frigid truth.

bless me father for I have sinned…

I begin to spill the truth out. It comes quickly and violently, as if I had food poisoning, vomiting out the facts and dry heaving apologies without an end in sight.

Everything is true tell kevin i’ve been stealing money from the company i’m using drugs again i can’t stop i don’t want to stop i can’t do this any more i need help i don’t want help i want to die i want to live i don’t know what the fuck i want i want to be who i am not i don’t know who i am what the hell am i doing what the hell have i done what is happening to me how did i end up here? i’m so sorry, i’m so fucking sorry.

……….this wasn’t supposed to be my life………

I’m sitting on the bathroom floor again, now waiting for my mother to arrive. I didn’t tell her anything about what was going on, just that she needed to come get me.

Like getting picked up from a friends house.

Like getting awoken from a bad dream

Like somehow, in someway, she can make it all better. Just close my eyes, and count to three…

She finds me sobbing into a towel that for some reason I have become aggressively attached to, and will not let go. I can barely breathe, let alone attempt to continue my confession.

Through the fear and the terror, I begin to explain my dilemma. At first, the filter assumes it’s natural position between my heart, my brain, and my mouth.

I can see that it’s going to take some time to break down that wall.

She now knows enough to know what I have just come to know.

I’m in trouble.

I need help.

I’ve given up, and I can’t live this way any longer.

A few phone calls later, we are on our way to an in-patient program in a town called Summit, which sounds familiar to me, though I can’t quite place the location. Have I been there before I wonder.

Out of some warped sense of duty, I decide to call my father and let him know what’s going on with me. Luckily, my “selective” memory has allowed me the luxury of not remembering his reaction to my situation. I wish I could feel proud for calling. I wish I was drunk. I wish I hadn’t flushed my friends down the toilet.

I sit still in the car on the way.

I listen for their advice.

They are getting worried about what I’m doing to them.

For the first time in:






I feel I may have done something right.

“Well it seems like I’m caught up in your trap again. And it seems like I’ll be wearing the same old chains. Good will conquer evil, and truth will set me free. And I know somewhere I will find the key.”

“But now I’m trapped.”

 – Bruce Springsteen