• Shamus Flavin

It's a wonderful, wonderful life...

Updated: May 2




It is a wonderful life now, at this very moment in time. I’m sober in Utah, alive and healthy. Well healthier than I ever was those past eight years. When I was around twenty-six, I remember getting blood work done and my doctor telling me I won’t make it past twenty-nine if I continue drinking the way I was. The same age my brother took his life. The fucked-up thing is that I didn’t care. I was slowly killing myself with alcohol, slowly committing suicide since I was told that from a professional. I look back on those years and remember thinking to myself when the last day was, I didn’t have drink. It was three years after losing my brother and father and the business that I wanted but couldn’t keep. My dad wanted my mom to have nothing to do with the business since the divorce rate was high. In a four month span she lost her husband and son and would get phone calls constantly since she was number 1 in charge. I mean who wants to take orders from a twenty-three-year-old. I remember throwing up in a trash can before and after signing away the rights to the Bahia Cabana. Then watching those fuckers come in and fuck the business over. It is one of the biggest regrets I have in this life. I named this post a wonderful life because for so long it wasn’t. I was to big of a pussy to change anything in life. I was just living life on autopilot to afraid to switch gears….



My two main Bahia brothers.


Its march of 2013 and my dad just entered the hospital for a mini stroke he had that he had ignored because he hates hospitals and well, he was very stubborn. I don’t blame him because I hate them too now because of him. I would go visit him four days a week in there and never saw him smile once. It was more of a cry fest than anything else. Every month he would get better just to not. With each month leading up to September I was mentally preparing myself for my fathers’ death. It's weird because when I was younger, I was scared shitless of my father. It wasn’t till I was twenty-one and we could drink together that an odd bond formed. He was proud of me for just existing at the time. Just like in college when I started smoking cigarettes, I remember feeling uncomfortable that I was going to tell him, and he smiled and threw me two packs of Benson & Hedges. That’s when I started coming into his office to smoke with him and just talk about any problem I had. He always had an answer. Once he got sick, he didn’t. I cherished every day I day drank with my father besides the fact, that made me the alcoholic I am today. After my father passed, we had the service for him in Fort Lauderdale, it wasn’t till then I realized how respected he was in that town. Different eras of the Bahia all coming together to respect this man's legacy even though they all had their differences. It was a beautiful thing. Then we had a wake and service in Chicago before we laid him to rest.




To tell you the truth I don’t remember much about that year. I was drunk for all of it. Working nights then getting drunk and repeating. My father wanted me to work during the day so I can learn the ends and outs of the business but once he wasn’t around, I figured I might as well try something new. We went to Indiana to stay with my mom’s side for a week after we buried him. I remember JJ saying we should sell the Bahia. Move to Indiana and become farmers. That was a way of him saying he didn’t want the responsibility of the business and just get high all day. It was four months. Only four months till he would take his own life. I would try to have a vulnerable conversation with him about losing Dad and he would always shrug it off. I wanted to keep our father’s legacy going, yet he saw it differently. We would have a penthouse party every year for New Years, and he left before the ball dropped going into 2014. A few months prior he popped of a shot in our room. The bullet went thru the wall and under my mom’s bed. I keep thinking if he was going to do it then and he made a bullshit accuse saying he didn’t know a bullet was in the chamber. I also remember one month my mom was out of town and it was just us at the house. Within a three-day period, he crashed his car and my mom’s. One night he asked to use mine and I told him to politely fuck off. I saw him grab my keys and go for the front door and we got into fist fight, I remember telling him to go kill himself. I remember looking back on that time and wishing I could have taken that back. Don’t remember the month or date but that night has lived in me for eight years now. Around this time, I picked up the piano just to learn “Say Something” by A Great Big World. The lyrics say it best. “Anywhere, I would've followed you. Say something, I'm giving up on you.” JJ I would have followed you anywhere but at that time in your life you were so lost, and I just simply gave up hope.



This video was taken five days before he took his life.


February 2nd, 2014 was Super Bowl Sunday, FSU won the national title the year following, and I found myself converting to a Broncos fan since I was a fan of Peyton Manning. At a young age I liked the Indianapolis colts and Indiana Pacers since my mom was from there. So, I was content with football at the time unlike now with FSU and the Dolphins. I woke up that morning with a raging headache from the night before drinking. Fireball would do that to you. Went to the kitchen to see my brother chugging wine at 10am. This is before I became an instant drinker in the mornings too. I remember telling him “What the fuck are you doing?”. He didn’t respond. He never fucking responded. He talked to my mom, and I could tell he was barred out with his slurred speech. He was out back tanning and listening to music which I found odd. My mom kept telling me he always listened to music. He use too. He is the one that got me into Grunge music. He is the one that took me to go see the Foo Fighters on a school night…in high school that was huge. He is the reason I listen to Stone Temple Pilots, Smashing Pumpkins and Audioslave but towards the end of his life he wanted nothing but silence. Whenever we would be in the car together, he would turn the music down to notch one. We would drive in silence everywhere we went together. It was fucking weird. My mom and I were watching the Puppy Bowl when he said he was going to the liquor store to get liquor for a party that night. The next time I would see his face he would be in a casket. I called him from the time he left to the time I found out he was gone over 350 times. The phone would just keep going to voicemail. I kept calling thinking he was on the other line. How naïve of me. When I was getting ready for a party myself, I felt a weird sense of energy go through me. I knew something wasn’t right. I wasn’t the same Shamus after that. When he took his life a piece of me died as well. A piece I have been searching for since I got sober. A piece of me that I only can see when I am in nature in this beautiful state. I had a certain personality back then, a vibe that was fun and energetic. Well that vibe is long gone. Five or six of my closes’ friends came over later that night and we drank and told stories about my brother. It was nice. The rest of that week my mom would have all her friends come over and they would have food and wine. My sisters came down from Chicago as well when they heard the news. It’s funny though, I felt so alone even with thirty people at the house. I just wanted to be alone. That was the first time I sat in my shit, that was when my addictive personality came out. I remember picking up his car from the impound lot, the same impound lot my car would be five different times from my alcoholism. We had to pay four hundred dollars, four hundred dollars to get a dead man’s car out of that lot. I started driving his Ford a lot before we sold it. Just to feel some type of way. Just to feel connected to him.



Jack and Amandas wedding.


We did the same thing for him that we did for Dad but we didn’t have a wake in Chicago. The service in Fort Lauderdale was one like I never have seen. People were standing in the back of the church just to honor him. It was beautiful yet depressing at the same time. He could have called any of those people there and maybe that would have turned a switch on. The day we buried him; we didn’t even see him get buried. The snow was so bad that day. They had to keep digging out the snow of the hole he was getting buried in. It’s weird I don’t even remember what he looks like unless I see photos of him. I just keep seeing that embalmed face of his. The fucking horror. After that it was very hard for me to let new people in. “Fuck new friends” was my motto. I let certain people in my life once I started to get sober but still, I would find myself at gun point just for Cocaine. I grew up in a respectable household I shouldn’t be hanging around people who carry Glocks. The hardest thing about moving to Utah was trust. Do I trust this person enough to let him know my whole life? Yet it is funny because it is easy letting people into my life now. I mean I don’t think I would have made a blog or started blogging if it wasn’t for that word. This world makes sense for the first time in a long fucking time. There were different times in my life I wanted to get sober, but I was like how could I get sober and be happy? That’s not my fucking life. I thought I was put on this earth to be a bar owner like my father was. Yet a bar is the last place I need to be now. I was drunk in South Florida this holiday season and I heard a song by Kate Melua called Wonderful Life, I have listened to it over 400 times by now and still not sick of it. It’s a wonderful life because I’m sober here in Utah at this very moment and fucking happy. The shamus in 2016, 2017 or even 2019 would never think I deserve this life. Yet here am I. Happy to just be alive…



I cherish every moment with people I have here in my life.


It was the leap of faith for me. Once I got back, I went to church, and God has done things for me that I could not do for myself. I mean I do find myself in moods from time to time but it's because this covid bullshit has gotten in the way of things. I took a test on Monday morning and still don’t have my results back. If that’s my biggest problem, then I think I’m good. If you’re struggling and reading this, you can reach out to me if you would like. My phone is always on and never turned off…


Shamus Flavin

FlavinsPad@gmail.com

(954) 654-1541

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