ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Ghosts of Christmas Past: Vegas Baby! Edition

Updated on December 13, 2008

One of the strangest holiday memories I have...

 comes from the years I had lived in Las Vegas. Oh, hell yeah! Nothing like being young, full blown into addiction, making killer money and living in Sin City. Nevada... gambling, drinking, and except for Clark County, prositution is legal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just thinking back still bring a small tear to my left eye.

Anyway,  I am reminded of one particular holiday season while living in "Lego Land." You see, I was getting close to down and out. Granted I was make really good cash, but there was one small problem; I was on the "fast track" to becoming what a fellow casino employee called a "true citizen of Las Vegas." He used to tell me, "You are never a true citizen here, until you file bankruptcy twice and have to change your name...And you have to sleep on different friends couches, while making serious cash, because you blow every dime." So, I was definitely on my way to being called a "local." And I was doing it at the speed of sound!

Well in true form of the morally corrupt addict is started praying, a lot. I would go into churches and light candles (that you are supposed to donate a couple bucks for), but I never had any "extra" cash, because that may be the two bucks that turn-it-all-around for me. So, I'm praying like a son of a bitch..."God help come up with a way to make enough money to save my place, and if you do I will turn my life around and do right; once again."

Now, I may have been a gambling man, but I believed in putting some odds in my favor and if God isn't caoming through for me; maybe I need to look into another option. So while praying in a chapel, I am also going you know I would be willing to cash in my soul for a bottle of good whiskey, a pack of camels, and hitting a video poker machine for about 2 grand. So I'm making deals with God, St. Jude, Mother Mary, and something "less...mmm...good." Hoping one of them would come through for me, because I've been a good person most of my life, and damn it! when does the self-serving, addicted, hedonistic, true believer get what is rightly his? So this little Monty Hall moment went on for a week or more.

One night after work, I went home, got cleaned, and headed to my favorite neighborhood joint. The bartendered already had my usual poured and updated me on if any of my gang had been in yet. So I ordered a burger (which he was kind enough to comp.) I lit up my cigarette, and slightly enjoyed my first drink of the night. I then bought like $30.00 in quarters (for some of you...that's 3 rolls). You never gambled first. It is alway smoke, drink and gamble. Because smoking a cigarette takes about 5 minutes, a drink takes averagely less time then that, and if you are having a bad gambling night; you could be done in about 30 seconds (so it feels like.) I eventually got around to play a progessive jackpot video poker game.

I hit a 4 of a kind, and it payed like $300 and some change. I hit a straight flush for like another $575. Good gravy! I hit a little luck. So I was laughing, drinking and smoking with my buddy the bartender. When I slapped down a hundred buck and ask for a rack of silver dollars. I "walked" over to the silver dollar games on the other side of the bar, and proceeded to load the machine in front of me; while I got loaded on the drinks in front of me. I hit 4 Jacks in my second try..ching-ching $1,500 bucks! BANG just like that. While the coins were cashing out, I thought just for fun I would pay the machine next to me...pop-pop-pop...a "no-brainer" 4 sevens...another $1,500 bucks. The bartender looked at me...I glazingly looked at him and said, "This should cover my tab for the month" (of course you don't really pay for drinks...if your gambling...10 dollars for a roll of quaters and they "give" you beer or drink of your choice, but you don't pay for drinks *wink, wink*) and I hand him 300 dollars. He looks at me going "Oh, God bless you! You just made my night, I can now make my truck payment. You've saved my ass."

So, I'm feeling pretty good about myself. Since I such a big winner and just did a good deed by helping out this "friend," I decide I bet go and continue my luck somewhere else. Like a good little alcoholic I fled into the night. Nudie bars, tons of lap dances, heavy tipping...gambling and drinking...living and loving every sick moment of it. Calling for "private dancers" to come to my place and entertain me. It was a festive, wild, sickening 2 days, and then the dead screeching stop...I was flat broke again. Still never fixed the problems that I needed the money for, because I spent every dime and more, so much more. I had to actually call my aunt in Phoenix, and ask her if she could "loan" me 2 grand to save my ass. She agreed to wire me the money the next day. Which took me a long time later, after getting sober at the age of 30 to pay her back.

Shortly after, maybe 2 -3 months later...I started sleeping on friends couches. Eventually I get tired of living like a "disaster victim" (though in a way I was) and I asked my parents to send me a plane ticket back to Ohio. The first year I was home I went out every night and drank approx. 100 dollars a night. Finally, one night after a Halloween party, I had a friend drive me to a rehab center at 4 in the morning. From that day, I stayed sober for 10 and a half years. Never once did I desire a drink...that is until one day in April of 2007 when I relapsed. Then it wouldn't be until Oct 23, of 2007 after two DUIs that I would find sobriety again.

I'm not sure if it was a Higher Powers grace that helped me get out and get sober, or the Devil attempting to collect his due when I relapsed, but today I am sober, and I'm still looking  over my shoulder to see who's sitting on it. 

"Viva Las Vegas" performed by The Dead Kennedys

"Hell in a Bucket" by the Grateful Dead (live from 1994 Las Vegas show)

It's Christmas in Vegas, Baby!

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Deadead2 

    9 years ago

    https://hubpages.com/entertainment/The-Dead-on-Tou...

    Come by and say HEY NOW

    Great vids thanks!

    Dead tour 09 so hot!

    Peace Mark

  • Katherine Baldwin profile image

    Katherine Baldwin 

    9 years ago from South Carolina

    Great Hub, St. James, it's those that actually live through it that tell it the best. Keep fighting your demons, it's worth it. There is so much in life to live for and any kind of addiction isn't one of the good choices.

    Katherine

  • profile image

    newcapo 

    9 years ago

    Wow, what a story. Godspeed man , and keep looking over that shoulder to make sure the Devil does not get his due.

  • profile image

    patspnn 

    9 years ago from NYC

    That was a good story and very intriquing look forward to more of your stories.

  • Misha profile image

    Misha 

    9 years ago from DC Area

    Wow! What a story. Interesting, you know, the older I get the more I think we have to try and exhaust all what we can in our lives.

    No, let me start from another angle - in order to successfully quit some kind of addiction, we have to exhaust it first. Not sure if it happens over a span of one life though...

  • goldentoad profile image

    goldentoad 

    9 years ago from Free and running....

    I never hit bottom or have gone on any binges like that, close, but I think I have a guardian angel that has worked overtime to protect me. Good story and hope you stay strong.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)