It was Saturday, April 8, 2023 a day like any other with Easter Sunday following the next day. I was busy doing chores around the house and decided to do some laundry. One load had completed, went into the dryer and I began the next load of wash. While the laundry was doing its thing, I took a break and sat in front of my computer playing a game of Cribbage. Everything seemed to be going well so I got up to grab a soda from the fridge when I noticed that there was water on the floor coming from the laundry room. I immediately opened the door to the laundry and searched frantically for the water shut offs. There were none visible.

I live in a newly developed apartment complex where everything is cared for by the management’s maintenance crew. Now, this being a Saturday, and the maintenance crew having weekends off made this situation even worse. I called the emergency number hoping to get a quick response but was connected to an answering service who took my message and informed me that someone would get back to me as soon as possible. So here I am trying to contain the water from doing any further damage and unable to stop the gushing leak, was able to at least stop the water from ruining my Livingroom carpet. It was 11:00am when I made the emergency call and it wasn’t until 11:52am when I finally received a call back from one of the maintenance men.

I explained my situation to him and asked where the shut off valves were in order for me to put a stop to any more water causing further damage. When he told me where the shut offs were located, I nearly had a meltdown. Now keep in mind that I live in an apartment on the third floor and the [stackable] washer and dryer are in a closet out of sight with the shut off valves behind the units. However, he informed me that I could shut off the main valves that were under the bathroom sink. While I still had him on the phone I franticly ran to the bathroom, opened the doors, removed some of the items stored there but no valves were visible. Furiously angry with an anxiety level so intense I began to shout and scream out curse words that I will not mention here but you can just imagine. What I needed to do was remove a panel under the sink to gain access to the valves, lucky for me I had the tools handy for the task.

Finally succeeding in getting the water shut off after being on the phone for close to ten minutes, Carl, the maintenance man told me that he would be over as soon as he could. It wasn’t until 1:25pm when he finally arrived. He made the necessary repairs, helped me clean up some of the water so we could put the stackable units back in place but still had to deal water in the kitchen under the fridge and stove. We proceeded to get the task at hand completed and got the appliances back in place. It’s now 4:07pm with almost everything back to normal except for the remaining standing water and soak drenched towels. It wasn’t until 8:05pm when I finally finished with the messy water issue and every towel stacked in the shower, I had to kick back and try to regain my sanity from a situation I had no control over.

Nine months ago, I would have simply grabbed my Vodka bottle and a beer to help cope with this disastrous situation, after all, that was my go-to solution for every bad situation I ever had to deal with. Luckily for me, there was no alcohol available. I am an alcoholic, have been sober and attending A.A. meetings for the past nine months. I had planned that Saturday to help a friend install a TV mount at ARCNH (Addiction Recovery Coalition Of New Hampshire) but had to cancel. While waiting for maintenance to show up, I called him and began to explain why I had to cancel our plans due to an unexpected water break in my apartment. I totally lost it. I broke down in tears and cried my eyes out.

I just couldn’t hold back, I was helpless in dealing with a situation I had no control over and crying seemed to be the relief valve I needed to let go of the pressure built up inside me, it was. However, crying was not the only helpful tool, talking and being able to vent my frustrations to someone who cared and listened, didn’t interrupt and waited for me to cease crying and finish my story before giving any suggestions or advice. Thanks Rick, without your patience, help, advise and a little levity thrown in for good humor, I really do now have the cleanest floors in the building.

For those reading this story I simply must point out that recovery works. It works, but only if YOU allow it to. As previously mentioned, my go-to would have been my Vodka bottle and a beer. But of course, I wouldn’t stop at just one beer, after all, I’m an alcoholic, so with a full bottle of Vodka and a twelve pack of beer one of two things may have occurred. One, I would have started destroying things in anger making the situation even worse or two, getting drunk and not giving a crap, passing out, only waking up to find that the situation hadn’t gotten any better and realizing that drinking and getting drunk didn’t solve anything, I still had to deal with the problem. If not for the people at ARCNH and what I have learned about A.A. and the horrible disease of alcoholism, I would have turned to my old friend or (enemy) as I now see it now.

  • JS

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