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  • Shamus Flavin

A Roadrunner Story...An Oath To My Brother.

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

One afternoon I found myself bored at the Sober living house I was living in. I got a frustrating text that afternoon from a girl I met on one of the dating apps that said, “You don’t appreciate me enough.” I dont appreciate you enough? I live in a house with eight other dudes trying to get our lives together, I don’t appreciate myself either, sugar. I finally decided to go to see a movie by myself. Usually, I was drunk when I had this urge, but I was about six months sober at the time and knew I could handle it. Anthony Bourdain’s Roadrunner documentary was playing, and I thought, why not! I got into the Cineplex, and it smelled like 2020, Febreze and Clorox everywhere. I was waiting in line to get a Monster and candy, the usual and then heard a woman screaming at the top of her lungs demanding a large popcorn for the price of a medium. If only you could go to Disney and get a $2 slice of pizza and a blowjob by Cinderella as well. That’s what’s wrong with the world today, you pull out your Yelp app and bitch till you get what you want. I felt confident, yet silly enough to tell her I’ll pay for it, and she told me to Fuck off, the American Dream. After that whole fiasco, I find myself in the theater and I’m the only one in the joint. Apparently, no one cares to listen to Anthony Bourdain mope about life and expectations, but it is four thirty on a Thursday afternoon, so I picked a perfect time to go. I found the documentary to be very dark, but this came out after he committed suicide. It saddens me to hear, but I’ve been there many times before. Lost and confused, that feeling like you can’t reach out to anyone and nobody cares but there all just waiting for you to make the call. I remember when I heard he died, it was right around my brother’s birthday, he would’ve been thirty-four. It’s hard to keep track of his age since im older then him when he died. I don’t remember what I did to celebrate my brother’s life, nothing special, just a sad post on Facebook and a fifth of vodka? But at the time, that’s what I thought he wanted. Anthony was the only joy or connection I had left with JJ…besides maybe the Smashing Pumpkins getting back together…

A Shamus Stache

Around 2012/2013 I would usually work night shift at Bahia Cabana. I found the shift to have a heavier flow of traffic with people asking dumber questions but at least I get to sleep in. The Gift Shop would close at ten so I would run in there and buy six Copa wine coolers and put them in my mini fridge behind the Front Desk. I would drink them in the staff bathroom, dont tell anyone. I was oddly enough in love with White Zinfandel mainly because my grandma would stay with us for a few months and that’s the boxed wine she loved. Yes, I was an Alcoholic before I knew I was, at the time I thought it was just a phase since I dropped out early and most of my friends were still in college. Yeah, just a phase my ass. From ten till midnight at a Hotel like Bahia, either a lot could happen in those two hours or nothing at all. I would usually have two to three more check ins around then. Some guests would bitch that we don’t have an elevator so I would bring their bags up hoping for a tip and some were just cool with everything. The Wifi is still down. I was everywhere on that shift, if you needed extra sheets I would gladly but angrily run down the street to Housekeeping to get you them. It was about two hundred yards down the road, but I found myself at peace in those times. I liked working that late because usually it was just myself for those eight hours. JJ would usually be working Food & Beverage those nights so I would stay after my shift and drink at the bar and talk to regulars or anyone that I checked in that day that seemed interesting. You had people from all walks of life. We would usually leave around the same the time, I knew a few liquor stores open till three, so I would get a few bottles of wine and we would meet back at the house. Around this time, we were living with our parents and in the same goddamn room. The fucking joy. We would usually watch Anthony Bourdain on TV, we watched No Reservations and the Layover a lot. I found him to be very fascinating, the way he talks about food and life in general. The way he would describe food made me enjoy it more than eating the food. Made me want to get a drink with the man or a coffee now should I say. JJ and I had a thing where we would take each other out once a week to a nice dinner, then get hammered at the local watering hole. It was always a check on somebody dinner. Like a are you okay with who you are at this very moment dinner. Would usually end with us cursing each other out but that’s the type of guys we were. My brother could have been a great chef and traveled the world if he wanted to, but just like me he was stuck in that South Florida bubble and never got out of it. I remember asking my brother how he was a lot after our father passed and he would always say alright. Just alright.

Passed out at Bahia, with JJ.....

One thing Anthony Bourdain said in his documentary was “Its normal to think about death a few minutes a day.” That hit me hard because I think about it more than just a few minutes a day. I think about it when I wake up, when I’m on the road (There are a lot of bad drivers in Utah) and right before I go to bed. Life in Recovery will always be life or death. No matter what your drug of choice is. Don’t get me wrong, I find myself very lucky to be where I am but then again death brought me here. If it wasn’t for my brother’s death, I probably would have killed myself. My father was an alcoholic and his dad too. So of course, his two sons would fit right in that category of fuck ups. Not saying my father was a fuck up, sorry mom. Bottom-line, fate led me here to Utah, there’s no other way around it. God knew I was going to go on that three-week binder, and he was just waiting for me to get down on my knees to prey or give up. That’s the sad, dark, truth. Death taught me a lot. I remember my first time in treatment, I was a part of this faith-based program. Thought well if I’m going to quite drinking might as well give this God thing one more try. I met a lot of good people in that group. Some I still talk to till this day. This one Minister I found to be great, the way he talked about God and his experiences with addiction, really related to me. I was like this is what I want my recovery to look like. Well, he died last April, how am I supposed to be successful at this shit if someone like him couldnt make it? Now that I’m only a few more drinks away from my liver giving out. I guess ill take it one day at a time. Well just like Anthony would have said it’s better to think of death then not at all, its better to give Flowers then push them too. I humble myself every morning to remember how far I have come.

Utah treating me well.

So, I learned a lot about myself that day. Especially since I relapsed like a month later. I have learned a hard lesson from every relapse I have had. I used to blame all my relapses on the fact that I lost my brother to suicide eight years ago and now my feelings are coming back. I was born with these genes and can’t say a horrible life event was the reason I went under. I am an Alcoholic and proud to be. I drank away my 20’s so I can live in my 30’s. Of course, I have still screwed up a lot, but I’m not ashamed of it anymore. I know I’m a short dude and my penis is small, especially when in drops below fifty degrees. Thankfully I got God on my side now, something I think JJ and myself took for granted. I was a soulless sap December 21st, 2020, when I got in the Sedan to come back to Cirque the second time. I met a lot of amazing people here so far. My Oath to him, is to do what he did not, reach out to people who are struggling and or if I’m struggling. I have lost a few people to Suicide this past month, some I haven’t spoken to in a decade or more but is still a shock to hear. I plan on figuring out what happiness really is because even though I’m happy right now, I’m not always going to be….

If your struggling, reach out to me.

Shamus Flavin

(954) 654-1541



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