Monday, November 23, 2009
The addict that I mentioned in my last post disappeared again only a day or two after we spoke. Back to the street, to an ugly and very scary life that is much worse than I had been led to believe (and I had been led to believe it was pretty bad). This is both the fault of the lies inherent to advanced addiction, and to the sad-sick denial present in this individual's caretaker (this is all-too common as well). I expect a great deal of dishonesty and denial from an addict, from any addict. It is the plain-and-simple nature of the disease. But I underestimated this one.
The thing is: It doesn't matter. Had I known, I wouldn't have said much differently. I wouldn't have used the examples of the immediate and not-so-immediate past as weapons. And this person wouldn't have listened any more carefully if I had. Denial is -- in the case of addiction -- FATAL. Not "scared straight" fatal. Not "it won't happen to me" fatal. Just plain, goddamn fatal. Every time. Always.
The message, however, isn't a dour one. The message is one of hope. It just so happens that I am not Suzie-fucking-Sunshine. I am, at my very core, a cynic. And I do struggle sometimes to find the very decent nugget of humanity in mankind-at-large. But addiction is an awful bastard. And you can't beat it back with sadness, or depression, or fear. You can't cure it with voodoo, or denial, or happy thoughts. There is no reprieve for half-assers. To beat this cancerous illness that turns our bodies and our minds against us, the weapon is hope. I have seen addicts and alcoholics that find sobriety, but without hope, fail every time. Without hope, the road ahead seems too long, too dangerous and too hard. I found some, once, at a rehab center in a cold valley in Estes Park, in the middle of December, and I cling to it with all of my tenacity. I found it. It is mine. I will not let it go.
With that in mind, I received word on Saturday, that "George" is currently sober, out of the hospital and living temporarily with his son in Chicago. There has been some talk about a trip to Colorado.
Sometimes, I have to go looking for it. And sometimes, hope finds me.