I normally "node for the ages" and don't respond to other writeups under a
node, however, it occurred to me that I must in all good conscience
respond to the writeup above.
It's obvious that originalzin got hold of a computer at a library or
someplace like that.
It's obvious that he spent a bit of time crafting the piece above.
It's also obvious that the time he spent could've been spent finding out
where the nearest shelter is and getting some intervention, for his
homelessness and his alcoholism.
Nearly twenty years ago I lost my job, suddenly, due to the death of the guy
who held our company together. I received a years' severance.
By the end of eight months I was nearly in the dire straits that our friend originalzin
is. I'd spent my money and was abusing alcohol, absent the funds to abuse the
drugs of choice that I'd been abusing for most of my career in New York nightlife. Were it not for the gaggle of drinking buddies I'd
accumulated, I would've been homeless; and was damned close to it. I slept on
couches in filthy apartments and went hungry because I had to choose between
booze and food.
The end of it, for me, was when I ended up washing dishes for a restaurant
just so I could pay for a small room, get some food, and buy booze. A group of
my co-workers realized that I was educated, well-spoken and certainly not
dishwasher material. They got me help by way of a friendly local doctor who got
me a bed at a de-tox, and when I finished up there, prescribed the medication I
so badly needed (but had abandoned) to manage my depression.
I recall vividly
sitting in his office and waiting for him. When he entered the room, he said,
"so, why are you here." I can't remember the flowery line of bullshit and
sob-story I gave him. At the end of it, he asked me again, "so, why are
you here." He was silent as I thought for something brilliant to say. I guess he
didn't have the time to go on this way so he offered up "your friends say you're
in a pretty bad way; and they think you need help. Do you think you need
help?" After another pregnant pause, it all became clear to me at once. I indeed
needed help. I said, "I need help. I can't help myself right now. And I hurt."
The doctor said "that's better." I'm going to introduce you to some people
who'll help you. And I, too, will help you when they're done with you. But you
have to want to help yourself. If you give up on yourself, I guarantee
you that nobody else is going to give a damn about you. You're a bright guy. You
know you have a lot of changing to do. Now let's get started."
Part of me wants to travel to Washington, find originalzin, clean him up,
and care for him; as I'm sure his mental state is fragile at best. His
self-esteem must be nonexistent. I feel really, really bad about this. My need
to help those who're in trouble is like a little elf sitting on my shoulder,
tapping my ear and saying "do it; go help him!" The pain it causes me not to
help him is excruciating. But here's why I can't help him.
One of my friends, a long-time AA member, shook his head when I told him how
I felt. He told me two things that made me feel a little better. A) He's gonna
have to hurt, and be able, after hurting enough, to approach the right person
and say "I need help." B) When I voiced my concern for his health and safety, he
laid a bit of sage AA wisdom on me: "God protects drunks and babies." Curiously
enough, (and not being a baby), my life experience had proven this to be the
By the way, there's another reason why I can't help him. I can't take care of
anyone else until I take care of myself. And in light of my own recent losses
and setbacks, my well is dry. I gotta take care of me before I can be of use
to anyone else. I pray to God that he either finds it somewhere in himself
to get help. Or that someone with the emotional fortitude to sit and talk with
him long enough to convince him he's worthy of being helped, intervenes.
Even though work was a bitch today (very busy) and I'm cranky and my back and my legs hurt, I assure you that our friend will be in my evening prayers. Also in my evening prayers will be a prayer of gratitude for the fact that I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, and a comfortable bed to sleep in tonight.