My body was found by two young men cutting behind a church at dawn the morning after Easter. They were on their way to work when they found my body, cold and blue sprawled out on the back steps of a church in downtown Bel Air. I had had a drug induced heart attack, and hypothermia and had been left there for dead. I saw the guy that found my body about a year later when he introduced himself to me at a house party.
“Holy shit bro, I saved your life, I thought you were dead” was how he opened the conversation. I was puzzled, I didn’t remember him because I obviously wasn’t conscious at the time, and I wasn’t so sure I’d remember this conversation the next morning. I was uncomfortable but also had a facade to uphold. I mean, sure I was glad that this stranger had saved my life, but I also didn’t need him embarrassing me by carrying on about it in front of other people. I thought I was invincible and wanted other people to think that same way. If it meant I had to threaten him, or hurt him in order to get him to be quiet then that’s what I would do. I got callous and tried to get away from him, and the more he spoke, the more I got drunk, and the more hostile I got.
He was proud of himself. His finding my body and calling the police that morning was equivalent in his mind to running into a burning home to carry me out. I was annoyed, but I had to respect the fact that I might not be there if it weren’t for him. I listened to him throughout the night as he followed me around offering his own form of inebriated guidance to me. He warned me of my wild lifestyle, and my drug use, about how he had heard of me and the crazy things I had done, and how he respected that but he didn’t respect a heroin addict, and how it was going to kill me one day and he or anybody else wouldn’t be there to save me. I didn’t feel like listening to this shit, it was a party, I wandered off to find the girls and eventually blacked out as was customary at that time.
8 years later I crossed paths with him again. This time I was clean, and he was strung out on the very same drugs that he had once lectured me about. This was far from the first time I’d been on the upswing of this sad sort of twist of fate, it happened quite often, and each time it broke my heart all over again. I befriended him, in hopes to help him, but at an arms length. As a recovered addict we must always move with an air of caution when trying to help those in active addiction. Theres a better chance of them pulling us into addiction then for us to pull them out, it is a very tricky game. I gave him the same types of advice that he had once given me many years before, and just like his advice to me, my advice back to him fell on deaf ears.
In an ever changing world where nothing is stable and definitely not guaranteed, this man went from looking down on me on my dying bed to looking up to me as he began the soft spiral into oblivion. He looked up to me and came to me for help and advice, but wasn’t ready for the complete surrender that change requires. A few years after we reunited I opened up the bail bonds company and he quickly became a regular customer for committing robberies. Then one evening I got the call that he was locked up for attempted murder, and home invasion. He had broken into his best friends apartment and stabbed him with a samurai sword in the course of a drug robbery. For his first few weeks in the county I accepted his phone calls and listened with dismay as he prepared himself for a long stay in prison. 65 Years was the sentence that was handed to him between this case and the robberies that were pending. A harsh reality for what lie in wait on the other side of the needle, the bottle, the pipe or the straw.
Our mutual friend, his best friend that he stabbed lived through the incident, but died shortly after in a drunk driving car accident with another friend of mine. The cycle never stops, and the happy endings are few and far between. In the world of drugs and addiction, peoples places can reverse in an instant. There are no pedestals, there is no room for ego, and if we save a life we do so because its our duty. It is a requirement to our very souls if we want to experience serenity and stay clean. Like this story, my entire life has constantly circled back in on itself, and when it does circle back around and I find myself in a lower place than the previous time, then I know I’m playing the game wrong. We must choose to live every single second of every day, to improve and grow with every step, and to help the world around us move upwards on the spiral as well. This is our calling as recovering addicts. We listen to our calling or we die. Plain and simple.