A Sweaty Guy Travels Through Time

This is chapter thirteen of A Sweaty Guy.

I’m posting here just as it was in the original, with the exception of blatant typos and some formatting changes.

To start from the beginning just click here.

Back in 1989, I caught a vicious 24 hour virus. I was newly married and my wife and I had plans to go out with friends that evening. I told her she’d have to go ahead without me. I stayed home, in our Waialua duplex on the North Shore of Oahu. I remember lying in bed dripping with sweat and feeling chilled to the bone. I drifted in and out of consciousness, the strange dreams I had seemed particularly real to me.

“What are you doing here?!” I jerked awake, delirious, when she came home and had climbed into bed. Joan looked frightened until I got my bearings and assured her that I was OK. I’d had a bad dream I told her, but I didn’t tell her what it was about.

By the beginning of 2005 I had been divorced from Joan for about 7 years. Drinking and drug use had set me on a downward spiral ever since. Now I was attending an out-patient treatment program three nights a week. Unemployed and collecting welfare, I was sharing a room with two other guys in a house with nearly twenty recovering alcoholics and addicts. I had trashed my career and ruined my relationship with my daughter. It seemed I’d lost everything.

It would have been easy to feel sorry for myself — to wallow. I probably would have, had I not discovered the spiritual uses of DXM. I’d been experimenting, on and off, with the active ingredient in many over-the-counter cough suppressants for months. Until December 2004 it had only been another drug for me. A way to feel okay inside my skin. I’d liked it because it turned me outwards, from introvert to extrovert, like alcohol, but without the impairment. If I watched my dosage, no one would know.

Between Christmas and New Years Day, I’d discovered that there was more to DXM. It had led me to a spiritual experience. It was the catalyst of my awakening to God, or at least to some sort of Divine Truth. I really hadn’t sorted it out, but I knew that there were more revelations to come.

I also knew that I had to be careful. The sober house had a zero tolerance policy toward drug use and the treatment center would view my continued use of cough syrup as a relapse. Fortunately, I soon learned that DXM is not usually picked up by the urinalysis tests we were required to submit to.

It couldn’t be just about not getting caught though. I mean, I was doing the right thing, wasn’t I? The twelve-step programs told me that I had to have a “Higher Power”; I was in need of a “Spiritual Awakening”. Cough syrup was just the vehicle for my Awakening. Where the twelve steps provide a horse and buggy, DXM was a rocket-ship to the Spiritual Realm.

One evening, in the double-wide trailer that served as the classroom for the treatment program, I sat in the second row with the drug providing a good buzz…but not merely a buzz. I was feeling the sort of contentment that came with acceptance of my current circumstances and Faith that better days were to come.

The counselor teaching the class, was an attractive lesbian named Alison. Looking at her I was reminded of my ex-wife. I was hit by sudden rush of sensations, a strange stretching, a warping of the classroom around me, then a déjà vu experience. I was taken back to the dream I’d had over fifteen years earlier.

In my fever, years ago — way back in ’89, I’d dreamt of being in this very room with this same counselor. In my dream I’d not been with Joan for years and I’d been struggling with alcohol. But, in the dream, I also knew that everything was going to be alright. The whole dream was of just one moment in time, a snapshot of my own future consciousness. When Joan woke me up, it was as if she woke up Joe from 2005, instead of Joe from 1989.

Alison’s lecture continued as I recovered from the experience. I realized that the dream had been a premonition that I’d completely forgotten about. I had seen a piece of my life over fifteen years before it happened. I wondered if I’d had any other premonitions in forgotten dreams.

I would usually go outside with the smokers during the break, but that night I stayed back an talked with Alison. I didn’t mention my déjà vu experience, of course, but I felt I should get to know her a bit. Since she featured so prominently in my dream/premonition, she might be important.

It was a casual conversation. When I learned that she was living in Waialua, I shared that I had lived there as well. It turned out that we had a mutual friend named Charlie, who had been our neighbor in Waialua. Charlie was a crotchety old guy in A.A. who chain-smoked Camels. Charlie died in 2001 of emphysema. Alison had been Charlie’s roommate from the mid-’90s and continued to live in Charlie’s house after he died, the house just down the block from where I had been sleeping the night I had my dream/premonition.

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Joe Kernan

Joe Kernan

I’ve been a soldier, a teacher, an advocate for people with disabilities, an attorney and a ne’er-do-well. I’ve struggled with substance abuse and homelessness.