Being on the Other Side

I can still hear the cell doors closing. It was like a cackle of evil as the steel doors clacked and clocked. If you were sleeping a dream of love, family, good sex, and food…there was nothing like that echoing ghost to wake you up into reality.

My brother is in there…

He tried to reach me but that prison phone isn’t designed to help, it is designed to make you pay money to some private company so you can talk to your friend or loved one. That damn prison phone. How dare you hold my brother for ransom and make me pay, using something new called telephone extortion.

That prison phone is always taken too. Have you ever sat on a steel stool under bright lights waiting for an open phone to call your loved ones. Add a small, neurotically controlled room filled with many different forms of violence, rape, molestation, mental illness, broken homes, and what you have is fear and anger. You need both to survive.,

Back to the story.

There i was, walking in the humid and sticky golden sunshine of Florida when I receive a phone cal from a Texas number. For the first two minutes I am talking to a machine telling me someone in jail is trying to reach me.

Really? Hmm…who could that be?

I guess they forgot we were human…

Someone in prison turned out to be my brother who is not by blood, but by bond. He was there for me when I was down and out, and I am repaying the favor. I do it for reasons that are not for me to know or understand, just do what is right and pay it forward.

At first I am kind of angry and feel upset about the whole situation. He was doing good, he was getting involved with a church group and AA members, he was slowly getting his life back together.

He fell…and he fell hard.

But then I remember the power that exists in working with another on solving problems, like defects and dysfunction, and I remember how to exercise that power. It is in guiding another towards a common goal of surviving that we find what it means to love.

I accept the call by pressing 0 and finally get to talk to my brother. We both wasted 30 seconds bitching about how the phone was cheap on time, until he gave me the address to the facility he is in down in Maryland.

We get disconnected. I am walking down my street and this computer voice tells me to get out my credit card to set up an account. I shake my head in disgust at this low blow to humanity’s balls…

I get out a piece of paper and a pen, and I do something that is a forgotten relic of the slower past: I write him a letter. Not just any letter, one that connects to him to a level of understanding. This is the only way to work with someone and help them recover from anything.

In that letter I tried to give him so much love, compassion, and kindness on top of stern, angry, frustrated sentences because I was hurting. My brother hurt me the way he wasn’t being healthy, or taking care of his kids, or being a better husband to a wife that when together would mix into police and court cases. I love them  both, and I love their two boys. They are so young and have a good chance of growing up to be the next savior!

That is how we go from being on one side of life to another. From darkness to light. From dope to hope. From death to  rebirth into a new person.

I am happy to say that today my brother is out of prison. He is not just free physically, but there is something about his spirit that gives him this personal freedom, all to his own. It is times like these that I  stop, take a moment to breathe, and realize just how important words can be. When I think back on the phone calls from that Texas private prison number, I remember wanting to break him out but the only way out…was for him to do it on his own with his personal belief in God.

Today he is living like God.

Thanks for being beyond a best friend to someone I consider family by bond. We are just like Bill and Dr. Bob, and the funny part is most people don’t even know who the two greatest movement starters since Jesus and Moses’ time!

Let’s go out and see if this magazine can’t do what the Big Book did! But this is not about AA or NA, this is about UA: UniversallyAnonymous


The Fall of Mayhem


Written by an anonymous inmate in county jail

Not long ago I was frantically searching my room in the basement of a D.C. Bloods training house trying to find something to eat my cold can of clam chowder with. The room (not much bigger than this cell I am in) was covered with graffiti: messages of blind hate on every wall. After sifting through a pile of dirty laundry and releasing the previously dormant stench I found my toolbox. Inside was a collection of old needles and a spoon that was still filled with the dried crusty remains of amphetamine I had injected days earlier.

You see, the reason this arrogant white Bostonian came to live in a black families basement in the ghetto of our nation’s capitol…is the result of an unhealthy obsession coupled with the inability to be completely honest with anyone, including myself. So this is me being completely honest, right now. I choose to tell the truth, just for today, which is all I have left.

There is an ever widening hole in my soul called addiction. I managed to convince myself that love was the reason I hit bottom…more lies. The thought almost provokes laughter at this point, as I stare at the cement walls surrounding me. In order to protect the names of the guilty, this unhealthy obsession for a doleful damsel I shall call Eve.

I was so arrogant and blinded by this obsession that one day things would be like they were before, back when we were a happy couple with two beautiful boys…I refused to let her go. I had such low self-esteem I could not be honest with her. Eight years and our two boys and “I love you” was probably the only honest part of our relationship. In the words of Trent Reznor, “love is not enough”, and Eve herself left a message in sharpie on my wall stating: “love can’t survive on lies”.

True enough. I could put point out the hypocrisy in her writing that on my wall but focusing on her faults is what kept lies in my mouth and needles in my arms. The truth is I have spent most of my life judging the behaviors of others all the while behaving just like them. I was a true white trash scum bag. Few who knew me escaped harm. Collateral damage. I meant no harm to others but that doesn’t matter when all I cared about was me and the drugs.

I was a broken man.

I was skipping and bouncing off the bottom headed for certain doom. I had some moments of clarity when the pain got bad enough to bring me to my knees. 12 step programs, prayer, and recently Jesus seemed to powerful allies in this war for my soul, but the arrogant liar inside of me kept taking back control. No one has suffered as much as I have in the history of humanity and I deserve better! Right! Poor me! Two beautiful children and a lifetime of second chances, all the while possessing above average intelligence, looks, and an uncanny ability to entertain. Poor me! It’s laughable now but I really did feel this way, and believed it as the only way.

Fast forward 12 days ago at 2 a.m.

I am giving Eve a ride to a heroin dealer with no license and a warrant for my arrest. Headlights appear in my rear view and I say out loud: “God help me”.

As soon as the words pass my lips the flashing blues come on and I was arrested. I am facing 10 plus years worth of charges with $40,00o bail. God still loves me! After 11 days of detoxing I was on my knees praying in the holding cell ready to accept my fate. “God please help me” I pray, “you know what is best for me, thy will be done.” The door opens, I am brought before the judge and told the Distract Attorney is seeking a “no jail time deal”.

Rehab is the deal. My spirits are lifted and a peace washes over me. Hope is restored. God is the answer but faith without works is dead. We each have a different path to follow and I still don’t know my purpose but I do know it is not MY path…it is His. As I write this in my cell I am at peace. I have hope, and I know love. Gratitude is an understatement and humility is the wind lifting the wings, like a phoenix rising from the ashes we can ALL rise if we can just see the truth and get over ourselves.

Keep the hope. Keep the love. Keep the faith.


Just before bed I got an email from my father with Richie in the subject line. I already knew and let out something about God…but I wasn’t shocked to hear of the family friend overdosing on drugs. I lay in bed thinking of his life, and how I met him, and what his last moments must have looked like…

We all have a path to walk in life. We all have different stories about where we come from, where we have been, and how we got to be where we are now, today. Well today I want to tell a story about a man who walked a path that not many will ever see in their lifetime, nor would they ever want to see…the life of a famous junkie.

But he was so much more than just a junkie. Society labels them as sub human and writes them off because of the bad behaviors associated with being a junkie. A junkie is someone who is in so much pain that they are willing to do ANYTHING just to feel some release, some relief, anything but the pain inside that exists like a parasite in the heart. If you have not walked in the shoes of a junkie, please do not have anything but compassion in your mind.

The story of Richard Abrazinski, aka Abrakadabra, starts in Worcester in the 60’s. I don’t exactly when or where he was born, but those are minor details. Richie was a special kid, I never met him when he was a kid but judging by the way he acted in his 30’s and 40’s, I can only guess how crazy he was as a youngster.

When I met Richie I was a teenager living on Martha’s Vineyard. How Richie and I met was through my father’s connection with him. My father is a great man and he tried to help Richie when he could through the 12th step of Alcoholic’s Anonymous. I would see him working, and at that age I was just realizing that this man was out on work-release from jail. I remember working alongside him while he and another family friend Jimmy (he was the one who picked him up from jail). The energy Richie had was boundless, and he never failed to make you smile simply because his voice and his laugh sounded so…likeable. He could charm the pants off a panther he was that good. I liked him immediately, and almost looked up to him because at least he didn’t care about acting normal or afraid, Richie was confident in his ability to work hard and have fun.

Richie’s problem was having too much fun. I found that out one day after running into him at Cumberland Farms, which on the island of Martha’s Vineyard is a place where all walks of life co-mingle, and this walk of life was walking tall that day. I saw him about a quarter mile away walking towards the store from the ferry docks. He had a distinct way of walking, a distinct look, that gave him away every time. Richie got closer and noticed me, and this big fucking smile splattered his face and I knew we were in for a good time.

That good time lasted a week, and involved many drugs and a lot of booze, and also a car chase with my father and mother in separate vehicles trying to make me pull over and hand over the keys. I was not in a good state of anything to even be behind the wheel of a car. I couldn’t believe how controlling and oppressive they were, and why they would not just leave me alone to do what I wanted. It was a classic case of denial mixed with fear and dishonesty. I denied the fact that I was sick and running with another sick person who like me did not care that we were driving around high on cocaine, coming off of being drunk, with a loaded shotgun in the back seat going on a mission from god to who knows where.

Luckily that little story ended well without anyone getting hurt. I ended up back in jail and so did Richie. That was one of the many negative things we had in common: drug addiction, jail, and rehab. When Richie was in Jail, I would be in a detox or a rehab, and when I was in jail he would be out in about or in a program trying to work and save money like the rest of us. When we saw each other at an AA meeting it was like dynamite and fire getting together again for one more explosive show.

Until I changed. I saw the truth and I recognized the path I was on was leading to destruction. It had already destroyed my body, my relationships with lovers and family, and now it was threatening to destroy my life completely. I was 26 years old and a mess from doing too many drugs, and they were really powerful ones like crystal meth. One of the last times I saw Richie he was just getting out of Cambridge jail where he was locked up for getting high in an MIT bathroom in Boston. He was using crystal meth, and judging by how powerful that drug is I can only imagine what kind of horror show was on display in that bathroom. God bless him for trying to beat this addiction.

That is the message I want to give to everyone who knew Richie. He was so much more than an overdose, he was more than a junkie, he was more than a crazy sonofabitch who always got in trouble. Did anyone stop to think why he always got in trouble? Sure he needed a place to stay, so he got arrested. Not many know of that level of desperation. No, he wanted love. He wanted to be touched, he wanted attention, and that was the only way he knew how: acting out and getting caught.

He was not a brilliant criminal, in fact he was kinda dumb the way he would do crimes in broad daylight in downtown areas. I heard stories of his Maine life where he was a real bad cat. I heard about how he ran the Maine state prison system, but they were just good stories to me. When we were together, it was usually a crime. We shared mostly intoxicants together, and the times we had were spaced between jail and rehabs. So my memories of him are cloudy and hazy. But I hold onto them and I will never forget that big huge kid named Richie.

The last time I saw him alive was in November right around Thanksgiving time. My parents were away from the Vineyard and I was living on Cape Cod, I came over for the week to watch the dog and to meet my sister with whom I shared turkey day with. I was picking up some antibiotics at the pharmacy when I pull in and who do I see walking my way from the liquor store, as if he knew I would be there, smiling all the way. He was moving slow, and rocking from side to side the way he usually did, but something was different. He looked older. All my life I always saw him as young, and full of life, even if he was so filled up with drugs it was pouring out of his pores! I gave him the keys to my dad’s truck and told him to get in I will give him a ride somewhere.

I walked into the pharmacy and immediately I picture Richie driving away in my father’s truck with my dog in the back seat wondering why this crazy pollack is driving, not me. I wondered the same thing as I went back out to make sure this did not happen. He was still trying to unlock the door when I got out there, and I told him to get in the passenger seat. He obliged. I got the keys and proceeded to get my stuff.

At this point in my life I was moving to Florida and trying to be healthy as over the past year and a half I had been through a couple surgeries and overcome a massive addiction to crystal meth. My body was tired but recovering slowly but surely. I was running and beginning to work out. I began eating healthy and meditating so my mind would calm down. Ever since using crystal meth I have never been the same…it changed me, some ways bad but mostly good. It made me super spiritual and unafraid to face the future, as well as the past. Life was taking on new meaning and for the first time I felt ready to accept it and to practice the principles which would ensure I would live a better life.

In comes Richie, my old running partner who I never said no to and who I would have done anything for at one point. I loved the freakin guy! So many people did, and that is what is so sad about Richie’s story. So many people tried to help Richie get on his feet and back on track. When he was sober he was the most stand up guy one could ever possibly meet on the street. Richie had a heart of pure gold and was not bashful or shy about giving it to complete strangers. They would stare at his huge 6 foot something figure which was intimidating when he got out of jail all buffed up, and he was covered in tattoos so you know people kind of glanced at him a couple times to make sure he wasn’t going to hurt them. Richie was gentle giant who mellowed out in his later years. He wasn’t the hardened felon living in Maine state pens, he was just another guy struggling to overcome the darkness that was inside of him.

I get in the truck and he already has a baggie of a white powder ready to go. He offers some to me, so kind. I refuse. I tell him I am all about being healthy now, and that I don’t feel like getting high anymore. I try to talk to him about getting something to eat and talking but who the hell wants to do that when you are getting high? No one I know, and especially not this guy. He already saw someone else he knew, and he knew everybody, so we say a quick good bye and he gets out of the truck. Looking back I wish I grabbed his arm with the might of God and held him close, and told him what was going to happen to him if he kept using drugs. I now see what it was like to be in my father’s shoes, to love someone but not able to help them or reach them as they slowly committed suicide right in front of you. Powerless is a good word. Never has a word become more than just letters and a meaning, powerless becomes a part of you in those situations when a drug addict chooses to kill himself rather than ask for help and choose another way of to live.

I wonder if Richie ever truly lived?

What is his legacy that he left behind for us?

Prison, crime, felony, rehab, detox…I remember he came into detox on Cape Cod right after I did. We had been on a bad run and we both knew it would end with some sort of hospital stay. Actually we were lucky to make it out alive and free from prison. The chances an addict takes with his life is insane, and that is why people love to judge them! There I am, playing cards with some fellow addicts and alcoholics who I had become fast friends with in a few days since I was able to walk.

A woman named Beth spoke up about this crazy giant who came in the night before with one leg in a cast and who woke up half the hallway when he came in. He was quite intoxicated and even picked up this little counselor who Richie just loved because the counselor worked out and I guess he thought that it would be fun to pick him up and carry him around. Anyways, I wondered if it was Richie. So I asked what he looked like.

She described a tall, built guy with light blonde hair and sleeves of tattoos. I asked her if he sounded like this: “Hey, BRO!” I made an impression of someone who drank whiskey and smoked cigarettes their whole life, and she nodded her head yes! She was amazed to find out we were friends. I was out when he came in, but the story goes he was out in the courtyard jumping around with a cast on drunk, and using his belt to show off his moves by whipping it against a wooden post while hitting on the local lady patients.

I told her all about our adventures, and we became lifelong friends based on just knowing Richie. That was the legacy he left behind for us to remember and to never forget how he touched our lives. We should all thank Richie for the sacrifice he made for us. Perhaps the reason he overdosed was to save someone who might have ended up with the same fate. I know Richie helped me more than I realize by the way he lived. His life is a lesson to me that teaches me that it isn’t something to waste and it isn’t something to take for granted.

Everyday I wake up and I find something to be grateful for, even if it takes a while or I feel depressed or sad or out of it. I find something to thank God for being alive today. Today I woke up and I thanked Richie for the memories and the moments that I will never forget as being times when I was truly myself, and it was because of Richie that I was able to be myself. He had a power inside of him that I regret had to wither away and die. He was in his 50’s, and I can’t believe he survived so long that way he lived.

Today, let’s take a moment to be silent in our minds and hold someone we love in thought. Breathe in love and breathe out any sickness which might have taken them or us…breathe it out and let the healing power of the universe respond by the opposite reaction which is health and positive vibrations return to your body and uplift your soul to a higher level. A level beyond the suffering hurt or pain that might exist between you and another…and transcend the pain to a certain kind of peace: serenity…God grant me the serenity…do you really believe he grants it to you, or are you just saying it because everyone else is?

Today, let’s remember our good friend and family member Richie Abrazinski. I will miss his laugh, and I will miss his stupid voice, and his love. May you finally be in a place where you don’t have to run anymore.


A Basic Miracle

Let us suppose, for sake of example, that on a certain Monday, your affairs are in such a condition that, humanly speaking, certain consequences are sure to follow before the end of the week.

These may be legal consequences, perhaps of a very unpleasant nature following upon some decision of the courts; or a physician may decide that a perilous operation will be necessary.

Now, if someone can raise the consciousness of the harassed individual above the limitations of the physical plane then the conditions on that plane will change, and, in some unforeseen and normally impossible manner, the legal tragedy will melt away, and to the advantage, be it noted, of all parties to the case; or the patient will be healed instead of having to undergo the operation.

In other words, miracles, in the popular sense of the word, can and do happen as the result of a change of consciousness, and a change of consciousness is usually accomplished through prayer. Thus prayer does change things.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts(Isaiah 55:9)

Let’s explore something new, something different, something that could be used to rise up above the low level of fear, worry, anxiety, and stress disorders…they are not disorders, they are just imbalances of the brain which can be fixed by a what?

A miracle.

I am a miracle, you are a miracle, we are eternal my friends, and we live one hell of a story. You have always been with me, my friends, even during times I didn’t want you…I didn’t want anyone…I wanted to be dead…

All around me I recognize fellow souls kindred to mine, and when we connect and talk to one another we are discovering new worlds. As stars collide and are reborn we collide with one another and exchange elements, thoughts, words, ideas, laughter, tears, appearances, judgments, past in the present moment. It is almost like a portal to another existence, an evolution, and this is where miracles happen.

If one human can live at a low level of existence with minimal knowledge and talent, and grows up angry and fights because he doesn’t understand why he feels that way, and rise above all the limitations set by his own confused and immature mind. If that  one human could evolve…to a higher state of thinking, his life would be saved from court dates, jail time, detox vacations and getting caught treatment cycles….and dodge the bullet that is fired from that dark place.

All it takes is a thought.

Loneliness is the perfect time to start getting to know yourself. I sat down with myself tonight and cried, I laughed, and felt so human and so vulnerable. The feelings were a mix of happiness and pain, happy because I am ready to live the life of a spiritual warrior, and pain because I can feel it in the air…the cries…

I need to connect…where are my fellow spiritual warriors at? Time to fight back, and we do it with love. The real revolution is love…and when these readings inspire me to share it to anyone who has been through something hard, something traumatic, something that changed you forever…

Call it whatever you want, it is something that never leaves me, the darkness…but the dark gives me room to pray, to exercise love and expel fear, and rise up to meet the challenge of my generation. I have faith in my fellow young people. I have so much trust in the power of a country turned into a large fellowship.

The only democratic society is one that has been judged as a cult, so forget any huge public opinion on Alcoholics Anonymous they are afraid of the word ALCOHOL.

The attitude toward drinkers is still negative. What about the attitude of AA towards non-alcoholics? It is intolerant toward so many people and it divides, not unifies, the power of the Fellowship.

But the one thing that gives it validity as a  true democratic party is there is no ruler. There is no president. There is no monarchy. There are millions of groups all connected by one common purpose: to recover from a sickness of mind and body. This bond makes it the best kind of gang, because they are  not going to rob you, sell you drugs, or kill you for some trivial reason…we have members like that too, but we roll with LOVE and SERVICE to the person out there who is all lone and slowly dying…

To see them come back to life is truly worth all the pain and suffering we go through when one of our loved ones suffers from addiction or a hidden illness that people just don’t understand! When that happens, when they come back from the gates of hell and we hug them, kiss them, welcome them home…

we heal.

Home is where the heart is, and some hearts beat miracles. Drop that beat.


Overdose of Reality

2nd-Annual-Gloucester-MA.-Overdose-Vigil-luminaries-2012Photograph from, 2nd Annual Gloucester, MA Overdose vigil of luminaries, 2012

The last time Susan Cyr saw her son Eric alive, he was dressed for a job interview and asking which cologne he should wear “because he wanted to smell right.”

When the 32-year-old did not return home, his mother enlisted a friend to help scour Raynham and Taunton for her son. The police found him the next day in the parking lot of a Taunton CVS, his body slumped in his mother’s Toyota Camry.

“That day he left my house, he was my wonderful son. He was happy, very energetic, talking about going to college again,” Cyr said. “He wasn’t expecting to die.”

Heroin, laced with the drug Fentanyl, killed him five weeks ago, his mother said.

This was taken from an article in the Boston Globe and is available at this link right here: Heroin Capital of the United States


Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved (Psalm 55:22)

We sometimes hear the expression used, “cast the burden”, and it is useful to consider what this phrase really means. Used intelligently, it is one of the great keys to spiritual victory. To cast the burden means to really insist upon harmony and peace of mind, and to cease from worry and anxiety there and then.

If, when faced with trouble, whether it be old or new, you can affirm positively the harmony of being and then refuse to reopen the case, no matter how much fear may urge you to do so, you have cast your burden upon the Lord, and you will win.

-From Essay by Emmet Fox “Cast Thy Burden”

“You are a signal, a messenger who lives the message, who embodies the meaning of the holy in every choice you make. You are a healer, a source of nurture and wholeness, here for a reason, a reason that restores the bridge of hope.”

Letter by Anonymous

I have to start off by qualifying for some good pain and expressing grief stuffed so far down, it seeps out slowly into my heart and my soul…it is an intense physical sensation that grabs my whole being and shakes it a little. I tend be poetic when writing about it, and by relating to someone else being ripped away from you by drugs…it helps heal that pain and grief.

For 10 years I visited all those places on earth that I saw in movies and read about in books. I hated the way I looked, hated the way it that made me feel, but if one thing was certain in a very uncertain life, it was the need to be free and to find something real.
It started with a joint of marijuana that I was so ignorant about, I didn’t even inhale at first. Then it went to having a couple beers. Then shots of liquor. On and on and so it goes to the next form or “freedom”. I wanted freedom for the simple fact that I lived in a good family and I felt so unloved and I just couldn’t exist without some sort of silence or fight amongst us. I snuck out, and stayed out, and I learned really fast the damage done by the endless, infinite obsession around me. Sister is not around she is at college down South. Mother and father play a role not unlike two policemen and guess who the runaway prisoner.was?
I was prisoner of my own soul, and I paid my own ticket thank you very much. I want to thank Heroin for being such thief. You don’t even wait til it gets dark, because dope never sleeps and while my mother waited at home I was searching for a fix that would make me feel less crazy, psycho alone.
To sum up the beginning of my life and the world I knew in New England: pain and anger from fear and lies ruled me like a crazy king. 10 years was how long it took me to get to a point in my life where the past no longer haunted me like a demonic ghost. I traveled in different circles as an covert agent moves on a mission to find the truth. Deep down was the idea that one day I would be okay, but the reality of it was that I had to walk my own way out of everyday hell. Waking up with a sickness that won’t let go not for a second, and seeped in such a saturated brain soaking in brown syrup I doubted I would ever see a happy joyous free day again. Not like those untouchable memories that are sunny, in the backyard playing catch or shooting supersoakers, a happy family you can tell by the smiles, now only photographs placed in spiritual books.
The Boston Globe reporter was not an addict, and therefore does not know the truth in matters involving a serious, life-or-death disease that is bigger than any cancer known to mankind. How is that possible? The truth is in the numbers of deaths involving drugs and alcohol from a disease that is so powerful it can kill families. A big percentage of the people in our country are involved with this disease. Alcoholism was first compared to cancer, noticing the contrast in responses to someone who has cancer compared to someone who has a cancer of the brain, of the mind.
When someone has cancer they are compassionate, loving, and either sympathetic or empathetic to what they are going through. Not so much with the junkie, or addict -and addict means alcoholics too – since the addict usually hurts those around him before anyone ever realizes he has a disease. The ignorance surrounding addiction today is astounding. With all the treatment centers in Massachusetts, and all the options available, there is still a negative perception of anything involving the words heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, bath salts, fentanyl, percocet, oxycontin, benzo’s, any pill that ends in pam, the list goes on ad infinitum but what should be recognized most importantly is the fact that more young kids and fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, are getting ripped away from us.
Ups and downs came and trouble went like the wind in the trees and breeze through your hair. That soft and seductive whisper as it rushes by your ear drums. Such a beautiful life I have lived to this day. Even now, as I sit in the shade from the angry sun shining and setting the afternoon ablaze.
The fire inside is burning live and well enough to finally be of service to others who need a hand to hold, or a hug, or a couple bucks for some gas, or maybe help through school, or maybe it is JUST LOVE!

Where there is shadow, may I bring light

Hope Springs Eternal

“Hope springs eternal”

When I sit up late at night like I am doing right now, tired, by myself staring at this brightly lit computer screen, thinking of what to write so I can become famous…nothing comes to my mind. Nothing worth writing about at least. I have many thoughts, ideas, and stories I could write on this blog and feel good about it like “You are one hell of a clever chap all right!” Fuck all that.

I want to write shit that makes people nod their heads in understanding, or in sympathy, or feel it in their hearts that this? This is the truth and I want to read more of what this guy has to say because the words spoken have a certain power that reaches beyond the superficial mask of self and deep into the soul.

Stories of Hope?

How can I reach someone with a story of hope? What can I write to inspire, to motivate, to hold someone’s heart in my hand and carry it out of whatever darkness is surrounding them?

The truth is all I have is my experience. Within my experience is one vital, concrete, foundational practice that I have found to work in even the most dire and sincerely scary moments of our lives when it seems the very gates of hell are being shut on us.

Think of a time in your life, and it shouldn’t be hard to remember it, that time when you were all alone in a place that nobody could reach you. This could have been a prison cell or in your own house surrounded by family, and I am talking about falling into a dark place not even your closest loved ones could bring you back from.

I have known a few people who found themselves in this proverbial place of blind, deaf, dumb, numb, and completely delusional mind states. The blind mind state cannot see the truth right in front of them. Deaf mind state does not heed the warnings of danger or ominous foreshadowing of death or destruction because it cannot hear. Dumb is the mind that makes those decisions which lead the person into pain and misery. Numb is the mind state that is not a state anymore, just a mess…a noisy, wild, crazy mess hidden underneath  a sheet of ice.

The delusional mind state is the worst and encompasses all of these defects in a circle of insanity. The people I knew loved life, and lived it in a different way but it was full of something, everything, and on the surface it looked beautiful. But somewhere along the line something snapped, a wire burned out and caused the system to shut down, short-circuited, haywire.

It happened to me, it happened to my sister, it happened to someone I loved perhaps the first person I ever felt love for…Summer.

Hope. Is it just a four letter word that makes people feel better or is it a power beneath the surface of this life pushing and pulling matter forward and backward and sideways along the pathway of forward progress?

Why do some people embrace the word by continuing to live? Why do some people not see it and choose to use their hands as weapons on themselves? What went wrong? Why? What drove them to that point of no return where no human power could save them?

That is it right there. No human power. The truth. The spiritual part.

Doctors, pills, blood tests, psychiatrists, asylums…is there hope in these things? Hope springs for a little while, but not eternal.

No, hope is much bigger than a pill or a psych doctor. If hope were a pill it would be made in meetings, in love, in spirit, in truth, in help from strangers, from the heart…not a pharma factory or a script pad…no, from something more than human power.

I am a story of hope. You are a story of hope. Anyone who is still alive and living each day as it comes, especially after going through trauma, evil, and death around them. God is love and the love in me recognizes the love in you. I love you. Without you I could not exist, I am here today as a true testament to the power of love. It is because somebody loved me I am still breathing.

If I do anything in life, it is to honor those who did not make it to toforce_of_nature_04day. Who decided to give up today. Who did not have any hope, who couldn’t see the sunshine outside only darkness and pain and a quick solution to end it.

People might blame God for such horrible tragedies, but I blame no one. We all have a will and a mind that can make decisions, and if we decide to do something bad it is our choice not God pulling the puppet strings.

One story is one life, a life I used to cherish and think about all the time and want to make better with me in it…did God let her take all of her klonapin and close her eyes permanently? Did he make her do it? She was just like you or me. Full of life, hope for a bright future, a laugh that lit up the room with love…no God wasn’t there because she shut the door on God, her mother, her friends, her loved ones that had God in them and wanted to help. She shut God out of that room, that lonely, dark, cold room that offered her the comfort of a warm bed and a pill bottle.

Story of hope?

We are all stories of hope. It is not just a word or a force. No it is who were are. It is life.

Change From Within


Man is a mental being, and to know this is the first step on the road to freedom and prosperity, for as long as you believe yourself to be primarily physical, a superior kind of animal, you will remain in bondage – in bondage, that is to say, to your own habits of thought, for there is no other bondage.

Since you are a mental being, you will see how foolish it is for you to endeavor to improve your conditions by altering your environment while leaving your mind unchanged. To attempt this is to foredoom yourself to disappointment. Mind is cause, and experience is effect. If you do not like the experience or effect that you are getting, the obvious remedy is to alter the cause and then the effect will naturally alter too.

– Emmet Fox

Thou blind pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also  (Matthew 23:26)
There will be another free distant energy healing for everyone who wants to join and all their friends, families and anyone else who reads this. The main healing session is SATURDAY FEBRUARY 22, 2014 from 6-7pm Pacific Standard Time or same as Los Angeles, (7-8pm MST), (8-9 CST), (9-10pm EST-same as New York).

You can join this free distant energy healing session by using your intention to be included. If you wish to join, just close your eyes for a minute when you read this and mentally say that you intend to join the session and want to be included. That is all you have to do to connect with the energy and you don’t have to do anything else. Healing energy can begin to flow to you once you do this as many people who have done this before have reported.

You join simply by using your intention after reading this.

The energy works on many levels, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Even though it’s a group healing, the energy works with everyone individually. The energy is intelligent and knows best how to work with your energy system. The energy infuses light and energy into your energy field and can help clear and balance the acupuncture meridians, chakras and other energy channels. The energy won’t weaken with a large group and can even get stronger with more people. Distance isn’t a problem and you can receive this energy anywhere in the world.

To receive the energy you just sit or lie down and relax on FEBRUARY 22 from 6-7 PM Pacific Time-same as Los Angeles (PST) or 9-10pm New York Time (EST) and receive the energy. Even if you have to be active during the session you can still receive great results.

Many spiritual traditions teach that we are all connected and now some Quantum Physicists are saying the same thing. These ancient teachings often mention the most important thing we can do is help others. When we help others we are also helping ourselves because we are all connected…

And So It Goes…Healing from Within

Before and After: A Survivor’s Tale of PTSD

by Sam Allen

We’ve got something, we both know it. We don’t talk too much about it.

~ Tom Petty, Refugee

Make it clear that I’m in Stockton at this time, at the beginning of the story.

Make it clear when I’m talking about Portland and Stockton.

I’ve told this tale a thousand times.

I have choppy red hair like a boy. It’s slicked down on the front and I’m sporting sideburns. I’m

also wearing a blue gilt scarf, blue jeans, and a black t-shirt reading something sarcastic. I am

a boi. A noble creature not normally found on the busses of medium-sized American towns.

Stockton, California.

I am high on Coyote Grace, a group with Joe Stevens, a transguy who sings beautiful folk

songs about the times before, times when he was forcing himself to live as a girl. He cried,

and he’s a boy now, thanks to T, testosterone, his wife Ingrid, and a lot of soul-searching. My

earbuds are plugged in as Joe sings, “I’m just a ghost boy walkin’ through.”

Outside my head, a guy is pointing at me and waving his arms wildly. “Freak!” “Get off the bus!

“He has dark skin and long hair like an American Indian dude, and the bus driver hasn’t left the

station. She’s trying to make him calm down. Because he, loosely put, doesn’t accept me.

Two girls, one in camo pants and a pink shirt, give him the what for. “If he’s going to be a

boy, then it’s none of your business. Let him be a boy!” I’m not saying anything because this

is normal for me. In fact, my memory of Joe’s voice is more vivid than the interrogation I’m


The guy finally gets off the bus. “The next time I see you,” he makes the sign of cutting a throat.

I just look.

I know that it’s a sign. I do things to provoke people, like wearing a fagggyboy scarf. It’s in my


A nature that could be easily cut short if I don’t get out of here.

So I go. I think myself an exile, a refugee. I lug a 70-pound wheel-less black suitcase a long

mile to the Greyhound station, say goodbye to my best friend, and go.

Home. To Portland.

Home of the bois, the boifags, and the queers.

Somewhere where I can look, listen, and feel without being threatened or experiencing pain.

My hometown, soon to be adopted. Or at least I thought it was.

I’m there.

I breathe in air and take lots of pictures. Use the phrase ‘my’ copiously. My room, my door, my

cityscape from my (derlilict and drifter hotel) room.

La Roux belts it out at the gay bar below me. “This time, baby, I’ll be…….bulllllletprooooooof.”

I find it sad that gay men have to live such hard lives, even in the city. Who are they making

themselves bulletproof against?

I would soon find out.

Because I’m omitting something. I have leaky bladder syndrome.

At the shelter I stay at while getting my bearings for the day, someone asks, “Why does it smell

like piss?”

Because I leaked during the night, on the long ride to Oregon. Showers don’t start for another

half an hour.

And those long-ass bus and light rail (MAX) rides through town. I was lucky I was wearing

protective stuff.

But to my chagrin, they didn’t help.

They helped make me who I am today, like it or not. But they didn’t help with my problem.

In fact, they helped so much that they gave me PTSD. Them and my cat. This is the part of my

story that I don’t tell so much.

It’s choppy, like my hair, because that’s how PTSD is. Episodes, memories seared into your

brain, washing over you at different times. The past and the present bleeding into one.

It’s the same with the emotions you experience when you’ve first got it. You try to make the

feelings go away, especially if you’re used to ‘going away’ in your own particular way anyway,

but they stay. And they come back to haunt you, just like the memories you want to forget.

Portland’s still easier to describe in the past tense.

This part of my story takes place after I get back ‘home’ to my town in the Central Valley of


So be prepared for choppiness.

Because this is from After.

                                                                           But now talkin’ to God is Laurel beggin’ Hardy for a gun.

~ Josh Ritter, Girl in the War

What is PTSD to me? It’s something that I’ve had for a long time.

It’s shivering when I hear people fighting. It’s shoving out memories that I’m not ready to

grapple with. It’s hearing voices on BART, the light rail in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s me

not being able to go outside for two years without cleaning myself raw.

I hate PTSD.

I wish I could go to trans* events without every time expecting to be called out as a freak and a

dirty rat. Because there, of all places, I should have been able to feel comfortable. My people

– transgender folk, genderqueers, and others naturally embodying our fabulousness – disowned

me after I showed up there. Hissing. Laughing in the only way Oregonians can.

As IT happened.

A string of events that pushed me into daily survival mode and makes my memories bleed. A

mixture of nostalgia, guilt, and terror that plagues me when I least expect it.

I broke down crying when I saw an episode of The Walking Dead that had a man consigned to die

alone in the Centers for Diseasae Control. Not because it was sad, but because I felt the same

feeling of being trapped had imposed on himself.

Torture makes me cry now.

Violence triggers me, too.

My lips start quivering. My hands shake. I have trouble breathing. I shake out “no, no, no” with

my head and I try as hard as I can to not revisit the past. It’s like the that hell and the present

dissolving into one unbearable moment. A memory that kills me still….that I haven’t been able

to reconcile to myself yet.

I play Sara Bareielles’ song “Brave” when I’m feeling up, and revisit Josh Ritter’s “Girl in the

War” when I read the fable that I wrote about Portland, my apology in the form of a Prince who

mistreats his people, is cast out, and is vindicated by his good deeds.

Sadly, it’s not as simple as that. What I wrote aches of sorry that doesn’t belong to me, an

overwhelming guilt from a stage in recovery that I’m past now. It’s a fable that makes strangers

giggle and one that I’m ashamed to show to my friends, lest they worry.

So I submit articles that I wrote high on Adderall (prescription doses only, but boy did it make

me crazy) to Craigslist for things like this one and wonder if I’ll ever write as well again.

I liked my psychiatrist because he got me to smile.

I thought I belonged there. Portland.

It’s in my blood. The red cobblestone streets and the winding First Street that reminds me of

London with its curved windows on close-knit buildings.

Afterwards, while in Stockton, I yelled “BITCH!” at my 19-year-old niece from my mom’s room

when she saw that I had messed up her space. I heard people talking about me next door

and through the walls…..and still believe that people did talk about me through the walls.

Yelling, “Foul!” and “Nasty!” It was one of the most vivid auditory experiences of my life! How

could I not believe it?

I prepared to kill myself while making hamburgers after hearing people talk about me through

the walls. Add some beer and let it sizzle on the hot pan….mash it into the meat. Binge watch a

fashion show while mom’s at the casino. Block the thought out of my head.

Because what other option did I have?

I had lost my anonymity.

My cat. My fucking HIV-positive cat that pooped where he was supposed to and stank up my

thimble of an apartment. My cat that didn’t give a damn about cross-breezes. The poop whose

smell sank into my fleece jacket and my slicker. My own insistence on being up and happy until

they made me howl in that dank apartment. The cat that ran away two days before I phoned

Dad to come home. The cat that I couldn’t give away because he was my only friend.

One day, there was someone who actually said something nice on Portland’s light rail, the MAX.

“Look, she knows how to dress. All she really needs is a friend. We can be her friends.” That

touched me so deeply, but I was committed to being mute while in public, so my facade came

into play. I wriggled my eyebrows at the girls, grinned weirdly. The one who said it got scared

and walked away towards the exit, and I felt as numb as ever. I probably cried when I got home.

People glared at me everywhere…..because they knew who I was. I was that girl who smelled

like piss and shit on the MAX. I had glared back. Everybody knew me because the kids took

pictures of me and adults denounced me. Even here in Stockton.

Get hit by a train.

Close enough.


I didn’t because my mom found what I was up to by a series of direct and mature

questioning. “Are you planning to kill yourself now?” Like she had read a pamphlet about it. I

realized that I couldn’t do that to her, to my friends, my family.

“Am You Are Able to Donate?” Idiot. Just because I smell bad doesn’t mean that I can’t

talk. I mean, I can talk, but I won’t. I won’t let them see how stupid I am because it would

mean really giving up this time. So I stay stalwart and silent…have limpid inverted doe

eyes………………during the mock gang rape: announce, “there’s a party on the MAX tonight!

” surround me, pretend to hold down her head, go “Oh!” each time someone takes a pump,

follow me as I walk to the lower level. “She’s a partier, huh?!” “Ohhhh!” til I get off and scream

in horror and fury. I will never forget that. During the denunciation, during a guy saying, “I hope

she gets hit by a bus. I hope she gets hit by a bus.” Me saying “Fuck you” (I guess I did say

something) and staggering off the MAX, almost slipping on the icy platform.

I thought that the siege on Mouamar Khadaffi was akin to the siege on me: you know where he

is, eventually you’ll find him, just like you’ll find me.

I wish I could go to trans* events. The awesome trans* woman in our community doesn’t return

my facebook messages because I was kind of abrupt with her not because I didn’t like her but

because I was scared. I daydream about telling her. While peeing. Because pain and pee are

linked with me now. Feeling dirty. Vindicating myself. Dirty. Vindicating. Dirty.

Dirty usually wins out.

Or dissociation. Like playing Castleville on Facebook until the sun rises….and then crashing, so

tired that I can’t remember before I doze off.

Listening to a series of lectures on Persian history (no I’m not Persian but I my professor was)

way up into the night and then, again, crashing, with things to tell people.

If they cared.

Thinking that I could never really be comfortable the boi’s that I’ve always loved because now,

after Kate, maven of transgender queens, this thing would not work at all. It’s weird because I

was so interested in people being turned into symbols during the Prop 8 aftermath, and, now,

I’ve symbolized a whole group of them.

Avoiding queer studies until the bestie’s boyfriend took a course that made me read part of

Brokeback Mountain, which is still lodged in a crack somewhere under my bed.

Volunteering and having my supervisor put his hands on my shoulders for a minute. Him being

awkward and funny afterwards. Knowing it was to reassure me!

Bursting into tears after a trip to Target and watching Eat, Pray, Love with peanut butter cookies

on the couch with bestie………….not being able to sleep in bestie’s bed while she was binge

watching Netflix because the ceiling was too low and people would smell me while I slept.


Crying differently now. Every time I cry, I cry out. Especially if no one is listening.

Being on Prozac for 3 years (meh, it’s okay) and Abilify for a year and 5 months. Feeling stable

but lethargic ever since going on Abilify and wondering if I’ll ever feel like running again when

not wild and off my meds, not on purpose, just because I forget to call and refill them. Back on

them, I make the symbol for flatlined when she questions me about my mood.

Being _fucking_weighed. And told to eat well. And to drink water. Something that hasn’t

happened since I was a little kid.

Having even the administrators assent to kicking me out. After a public revolt.

Remembering this when I get ready to Mental Health. “Do you want that to happen again?”

“Hell no.” Wipe wipe wipe.

Wishing that I could just be normal and not worry about smelling, like everyone else I know.

I know that everybody has trouble, but not everyone has to overwipe when they pee. Not

everyone is terrified of people who can hurt them with just a word.

Not trusting my body. My body that betrayed me in so many ways – by leaking, by just being

there while they denounced me and said, “Suck my dick,” with fury in their eyes. Riding my bike

is so hard now because I feel vulnerable. Like someone can just come at me and injure my

stomach. Even though nobody ever punched me there physically, I was assailed emotionally

and my stomach took the bulk of it.

A solid, cold brick in my stomach each time I think of that, exactly in the same spot where I hurt

after Kate called me out, and after the roommates ostracized me.

Making friends after coming home, to Stockton.

And now I cling to what I knew.

I knew exactly what was true, but oh no more.

~ Mumford and Sons, After the Storm

Having my brother give me a plush Cheshire Cat for Christmas and having him tell me, “He has

two different colors. He’s not a girl or a boy, but something in between.” Just_like_me.

Me calling about an anti-bullying program (because god, how I knew), and going with the bestie

and her boyfriend to a queer event that included the lady who won’t talk to me now. Feeling

chipper and making insinuating jokes like only the gays can.

Being elected PRESIDENT of my local support group for friends and families of queerfolk

(, if you need it.)

Standing in a long line at DMV. “Hearing” people gossip about me, about how I smell. Having

the dilemma of whether to put in my headphones, and let people gossip all they want, or

keep them out and shut them up. Telling myself that the random conversations are not about

me, when someone says, “It’s warm outside, man,” that it’s not a secret coded message that

means, “that girl in front of me stinks.” Being able to stand there for 25 minutes, do what I need

to get done, but the unwillingness to go back and a need to bring along my mom or a friend next

time to protect me from the scary people.

Binge-listening to Mumford and Sons because they get it. Crying and remembering the pain,

feeling depressed for a day, but not suicidal like I had been before.

I rose and I rose, and I paid less time to your callous mind

and I wished you well as you cut me down.

~ Mumford and Sons, Holland Road

Well, I’m not there yet, but I’m getting better.

I originally called this tale Fuck You, Portland: A love letter, because that’s where I am right now.

I’m still mad at Portland – months ago I would have said “I’m mad at you” instead of “I’m mad at

Portland,” and addressed this to the city because it consumed my identity. That was still in my

fable time. The time when I pretended that everything was okay.

These days, it’s something that I went through. I’ll always have a relationship to the city but

I now realize that not all queer people are bad. I can’t say the same about Portlanders. But I

have met plenty of empathic folks in my hated real hometown of Stockton, California. I’ve also

met some apathetic fiends, but they’re in the minority. I want you to know that things change,

that those people who torment you forget, and that it does get better.

When you’re in the throes of “I’ve gotta kill myself, I’ve gotta kill myself, I’ve gotta kill myself”

reach out to people who care. If you don’t have anyone who cares, call therapists randomly and

tell them that you’re in an abusive relationship, that you’ve come home from a war (which can

take many forms), that you just can’t take it anymore. Cry. Tell them that you don’t have much

money and that you need someone to talk to. Someone will reach back. I did that, before I fled.

I found someone who took it that I was in an abusive relationship. A $20-buck promise to listen.

It took me a year to talk to anyone.

Another year to go outside.

My fable ends, “His heart was whole again, and he was their Prince.”

That’s wishful thinking. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a whole heart again, of if I ever had one in

the first place. What you can expect is that your heart will heal, but there will still be places,

when touched, that’ll make you cry.

I’m gonna close with more Mumford and Sons, because it just makes sense.

                   “There will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears and love will not break your heart, but dismiss

                   your fears. Get over your hill and see what you find there, with grace in your heart and flowers in your


~ Mumford and Sons, After the Storm

Cane Enable Pt. 2

 Mother held the family together like masking tape on a bumper; it was just enough to keep it from falling apart.

When her, my father and I pulled up to the hospital we didn’t know what to expect, since this sort of thing doesn’t happen to every family and isn’t the “normal” family vacation together. Visiting the psych hospital for me should have been more like a homecoming as I had been in one before, but those places have a way of scaring the shit out of you, and when I walked in that is all I felt…and sick.

At the time I didn’t realize how much my sister needed me, and how lost I was with no ability to care about anything or anyone outside of myself.

Nothing mattered but heroin. I kept picturing it. My thoughts were stuck on the scary go round and heroin was this huge magnet the size of a ferris wheel attracting everything in my life towards it. As my family reunited and we sat in the hospital room with my sister on the hospital bed wearing the hospital gowns, I sat there and tried to care I really did because part of me was good and part of me loved and part of me was still human…but only a small part…not enough to manifest in my life and maybe perhaps change the way I was acting…which was an a total loser scumbag!

The family had already been through hell and back again with the son. Now the daughter was in the psych unit of a hospital where they all now sat together trying to find some sort of solace or “normal” or anything that resembled life before this…thing…happened.

There are no words that exist in our limited vocabulary called English that have the power to take away the elephant in the room, that big fucker has to just leave on his own or else just be ignored. Sometimes the truth is just too painful to talk about straight up, and it was real and ugly and uninviting and very uncomfortable…so why sit and worry about it?

That is what the family did: they ignored the truth and moved on as best as they could. The daughter who was still loopy off the medication talked as if nothing happened or if it did, then it wasn’t a big deal and we should stop talking about it. The father tried the hardest to try and figure everything out, and the mother eventually came to the rescue and kept it cordial. All the while the son held everything in and didn’t say much, only enough to play his part as the son…wishing he was back in the city with his new friends who were so nice.

They even showed him how to use a needle! Now he could get that rush and get high on his own, he wouldn’t need anyone to do it for him, now he was a real junkie.

If it wasn’t for the elephant in the room, every member of that family would be looking at him and wondering what the hell is going on? Why are you so restless and irritable and why are you sweating so much? They would have questioned the lies until the truth broke free. But today was not focus on the fuck up day, it was focus on the one who had it all together and never had any problems.

This was new territory for the son and brother they all loved dearly, the attention on his sister was almost like taking away a security blanket from a child. It was all he had to exist as a participating member of the family, this fucked up sense of belonging by acting out and being reckless, getting into trouble, and needing to be bailed out of every jam. Perhaps that was it, the reason for his behavior, was the need for attention and care as a way to make sure his family loved him. Because love wasn’t invented yet inside his soul, and no amount of attention and care can ever reach someone who does not have love in their hearts.

The father got a hotel room near the hospital so the family could visit the daughter in the hospital. The son had to return to the city by the next day in order to follow the rules of the sober house. He didn’t want to go back to that house again. The guys in that place were so…negative. He wished he could talk to his parents about all of this. But why mess up a good thing?

Before the son got on the flight to go back up north, the father pulled him aside to talk with him. He tried to reach him and bring the son back to some sort of center, but the son wasn’t even listening it was too late. The father realized this as he started to repeat himself. He had been where his son was, but he didn’t say that and didn’t know why. Maybe he was scared of saying the wrong thing, or worried if he said that then it would change things for the worse…either way, it came down to the love he had for his son.

He handed his junkie son 2o0 dollars that was needed for rent. He watched him get in line at the security check and walk through the metal detectors and disappear.

The father wouldn’t see or hear from his son until months later after he turned up in a facility that helped troubled youth who were homeless on the streets of the city.

I got on the plane and for a few hours I felt strong. I recalled what my father had said and thought to myself: “I can do this! I got it. I don’t have to get high when I get off this plane. I am stronger than that!” I was a scared little boy in the dark whistling to make myself to feel better. Lost, and now I was alone with 200 dollars and a decision to make that was not mine to make. It was already made for me the second a needle was stuck into my left arm vein by a junkie on the street, and I was a slave. Slave’s don’t have a choice.

Slaves obey.

I held off the demons and the evil the whole flight with affirmations and good ideas about what I would do with my life and how I would change. It all sounded so good. But on the train I heard the next stop coming up was the one that would take away all the feelings of sickness, illness, and hurt. I imagined that rush, that sweet succulent sexiness that would wash over my body and let me float away into happy oblivion…

Door opened. The junkie ran out and up the steps to the bustling street with the smells of the food sewer and human waste all mixing a powerful concoction for the senses.

Another lost child disappeared in the crowd.


Cane Enable Pt. 1

Love is God God is love love is God God is love

If it weren’t for the love and support of parents, many of us would be dead. After so many attempts to live free from insanity and so many failures, it is amazing how some parents can put up with their child’s fall into oblivion and all the pain, heartache, and suffering that comes along with loving an addict, an alcoholic, or someone with a mental disease that no one understands. Why do they parents enable their children by giving them money and shelter when they know it is all for nothing because their child is in the control of demons that use needles, spoons, crack pipes, lighters, and poisonous powders that slowly kill the son or daughter they used to know…


Why does anyone who has a loved one go to such drastic lengths that drain their pocket book, their sanity, their peaceful sleep? Because the fear of losing their loved one completely to the darkness is so great, and the fear of standing by and watching the person they love slowly commit suicide and doing nothing is too much, and to live with the regret that they didn’t try their best to help bring them home…they would rather die.

“Where is she? A hospital? How did she end up there?”

A million questions circled the 19 year old’s head as he held the phone talking to his mother who was on her way with dad to pick him up.

“She is in a psych ward Joey. I don’t know what is going on with her, she was fine a week ago! Apparently she was driving around without sleep for days and totally gone.”

John didn’t know how to respond to fact that his sister, his one and only sibling who was attending college in Maryland and about to graduate, was in an insane asylum. John didn’t know how to respond to anything, so it wasn’t a big deal, he shrugged it off like one who was used to brushing off bad decisions and life challenges as if they were pesky flies.

“So what’s gonna happen?”

His mother told him he had better be ready to go in an hour then hung up the phone.

John stood on the deck of a house that he shared with 14 other drug addicts, alcoholics, and other really great guys. It was called a sober house. Ever since he got arrested last year he has been forced to live in these places that were like boarding houses with rules. The rules were no using drugs or drinking. There was weekly piss tests, where a stranger would come in and collect each individuals urine by watching them pee in a cup. If you failed the urine screen you were kicked out. The money that was involved was sickening, the lives that were thrown out onto the street were precious, and the consequences of that was very real.

Something even more real was the habit that John had found to be very hard to break. It started in another sober house before this sober house. This one was not even close to sober. The first day after being dropped off by his parents, who drove 6 hours just to pick him up at a rehab and drop him off at strange house in the middle of no where, John met his roommate Carlos…and heroin.

With no self-esteem, no confidence in ever succeeding in life, and no care at all to the consequences of this drug to his life and body, John didn’t think twice and took the line of brown powder offered to him so kindly by this huge Puerto Rican guy, his new friend. John remembered the effects of euphoria and the rush that hit his mind body and soul like a tidal wave of pleasure. He laid down on his busted mattress in the dirty room of a broken down house, and John might as well have been in the Taj Mahal. It didn’t matter, the chemicals in the brain made John feel like a god.

John knew he had met his match. John knew he would have a problem with this drug. John knew…and accepted the fact that his life was now in the control of heroin and the fact that he would do anything to get this drug again.

Two weeks and many more lines of heroin later John moved to another city into another sober house. This one was even better than the last, because this sober house was different. Instead of having to go outside to get heroin, all you had to do was go downstairs and boom! Spanish speaking flaco who, in order to get a lesser sentence and get out of prison quicker, told the judge he was an addict and needed treatment. Basically, he had all of his customers living in the same house…much like a professional crack house. Judges and probation officers sent people there to get better and maybe stay out of trouble. They didn’t know that trouble lived and thrived in these places.

It had been a week of heavy inhaling of heroin and John had a screamer of a habit, but he didn’t even know it since John had never done heroin before and therefor never had to come off of it. He had heard stories of friends in high school who were hooked, he saw Basketball Diaries and saw how bad Leonardo DiCaprio detoxed from it, but to John he was invincible and it couldn’t happen to him.

He went up to his room on the third floor and packed a change of clothes into his back pack. He lived in a tiny room that he shared with another man. This man was huge, a body builder and a psycho. John knew him from a rehab in Connecticut they both went through. The man had gotten kicked out for having sex with a female in the laundry room. That was the rule: no fraternizing, and he broke it. Now John had the pleasure of sharing a small room with him in a run down city far away from home. They didn’t talk much.

John saw his parents coming down the street and ran out to meet them. He got in the car, and one look at this mother and father gave him the worst feeling of guilt and shame and fear…and the lies only made it worse.

It took four hours to get to the hospital which was in another state. The drive was mostly quiet with spurts of words from everyone trying to kill the silence that screamed like an unwanted child in an abandoned home, leaving everyone in the most delightful of moods.

John began to feel sick to his stomach and couldn’t stop itching. Slowly his temperature began to rise and he started to sweat. His father noticed this and asked John if he was alright, and if he was getting sick.

“I guess so, I feel like shit…this is horrible. I can’t believe she is in the hospital, I hope she is okay.”

What killed him was that he felt nothing, it was like he was a ghost and all alone and no one noticed him, like he was in another plane of existence and was doomed to spend eternity floating in this space of nothingness…with only the loneliness to keep him company. The sad truth was that John could care less about his sister, the one person on earth that was closest to him, and he just didn’t care. All he wanted was to shift attention away from him and onto her.

“Her coach said she had all sorts of random stuff packed into her car. Like she went crazy and snapped. I just don’t know what to think anymore John.” His father said, ” With all the stuff that has gone on with you, your mother and I haven’t even had time to worry about Kelsey. I am spent, all used up. Dealing with your addiction has nearly killed us. This is too much. Kelsey never had problems. I just pray everything is okay.”

John would have rather been taken by the collar and thrown out of the van going 80 MPH than hear what his father just said to him. What made it worse was the look on his father’s face in the rear view mirror. It was like he knew what was going on, but didn’t directly say it out loud.

Did he know that his son was hooked on heroin and his daughter locked in a psych ward for going manic?