Of course, I have a past . . .
We all do. I suppose the trick is to identify this instead of this identify me because at one point, I believed that my past is what defined me. I believed that my past is what connected me to a stigma that would never allow me to move beyond my old identity. I believed that I was held to a standard which was no longer applicable. At best, I believed that I was a person of my circumstances. At best, I believed that I could only go as far as the labels that described me and at best, as I saw it, even being termed as a person “In recovery” was a limiting idea that held me back from reaching my best potential.
At best, I could only be learning disabled. I could only be a person with a past. At best, I could only be the sum of what I was labeled as, which in my mind, was weaker and less than the normal population.
The one thing I say is something I hear most people say when they regard today’s youth. I laugh too because I think this is funny. However, out of anything that I am grateful for with regards to the wildness of my youth, I am most grateful for the fact that there is no proof or video surveillance that dates back from this time.
I agree that I was absolutely crazy. I lived through absolutely crazy times, which wasn’t all bad. I swear, in some cases, it is necessary to be as wild as you can, and to live, to scream, and to be as loud as possible. This is a necessary part of youth. Youth must always be youthful and in order to do that, youth must have the chance to live life.
We were not bubble-wrapped or as protected back then, which could be why kids today are so overly guarded. Maybe their parents viewed too much when they were kids and this is the means of reversion. What I mean is this is like a slingshot that was pulled back too far and now it snapped back too far in the opposite direction.
In times like this when the anxiety is high, all we can do is remind ourselves to breathe. And by this, I do not breathe the same way that you are breathing now.
When I say breathe, I mean slowly.
Pay attention to this.
Breathe in through your nose, nice and slowly. Feel the air as it moves through the nasal passages and let this fill your lungs as much as you can take.
Once your lungs hit the top of their capacity, pause for a second, and then let the air out through your mouth.
He was a happy man, somewhat round and somewhat short, with a round face and shaggy, salt and pepper hair that fell across his head in the shape of a bowl-cut hairstyle. This was the kind of hairstyle one would expect to see on a Franciscan Monk, or a priest, or whichever the proper term may be. His voice was friendly and happy.
I suppose no one would ever know by looking at him. I know that I had no Idea. Why would I, right? After all, the guy was a priest. What would he know about addiction or alcoholism or anything in between?
We are approaching the holiday season and soon enough, the Halloween decorations will give way to Thanksgiving. Next, it will be Christmas and then New Year’s.
Like many others, this time of year can be weighty for me. My family is mostly gone. Some have moved away. Some are not on speaking terms. Others have passed and all that remain is their loving memory. However, I have this memory, which I would like to share with you.
I had no idea what to expect. All the training and all the practice, all the role-play scenarios and all the theories were nowhere near the same as the real thing.
I was on call for the first time. I was the primary specialist, which meant if there was an opiate overdose call to 911 within a certain district, I would be deployed to one of the served hospitals as recovery support.
My job was to meet the patient at the hospital. I was to interview them and then see if they were willing to undergo treatment instead of heading back out, just to set up again and find another needle in their vein.
This one is personal to me.
I suppose they all are personal but this one has an exception, which I hope the reason becomes clear to you.
The truth is no one ever wants to “Feel” or “Be” alone.
Depression and fear are very real things to me. I had to learn from them. I had to learn how to interact and live instead of struggle or suffer. Above all, I had to learn how to move on.
Note to you:
I am putting this here (with you) in a collection I call The Book of Firsts. I say this because everything begins from somewhere. Every journey begins with the first step and so on and so forth. I know this and I know you do too. So, I will spare the philosophy and leave this thought here where it belongs, in The Book of Firsts to build from here and create what comes forward, one brick at a time . . .
I was about to head to a small town I had never heard of in the Upstate part of New York. I was physically uncomfortable in my own skin and sick in a way that I had never felt before. I was told that I had to go “Away” until the courts figured out what to do with me. My attorney warned that I better hope this worked. He advised that I better pray that I don’t get what I deserve. I say “My attorney” but he was not my attorney. More accurately, he was the attorney my folks hired to defend me in a court of law. So it was more like he was “Their” attorney.
morning and the sun was already hot near 23rd Street. The season was upon us in
the unofficial start of summer. I was out the night before with some of the
boys. It was Memorial Day weekend in New York City.
Most of the city was half-emptied with the wilder, younger crowds out someplace
else—like say, maybe down the shore in Jersey or out east on Long Island, in
the Hamptons, or out on Fire Island, or at Montauk Point.