The day is more than half spent, after napping unwittingly in a chair in my suite all afternoon. One doesn’t do that sort of thing without needing the rest in their senior years. I’m headed into evening now, and was late for supper because of napping too late. Frankly, I seldom ever feel hungry anymore. They feed us so regularly here in assisted living. Once in a while I do feel a bit thirsty for water or soft drinks, but not very often. I’m safely established in assisted living, keeping myself taken care of in grand style, with a small fortune to take care of me that I don’t even have to manage. All I have to do is show up for meals.
It’s a very fortunate experience for me to be able to retire so handsomely in my old age. People live their whole lives and can never afford such auspicious circumstances in their senior years. It’s said its not a good idea to have great expectations, so I certainly was surprised, when my fortune finally found me. It was left to me by my elders in the family, who had been such a great strength to me when I needed help in my youth.
I lived my life in worse than modest circumstances. I’m ashamed to admit that I was the town drunk in my youth. Many a time I was hungry. Sometimes I was homeless. Better than a quarter century has elapsed since the last time I imbibed alcohol, thank God. At this late date in my life, my elders have passed on, leaving me with circumstances I hardly ever imagined I might reach. I’m living in luxury and comfort, by the Grace of God and the generosity of my late elders.
This was why my elders kicked me out of the house in the first place. I’d been living up home, harboring liars, cheats and thieves, who would even resort to breaking into my aunt’s home to steal her possessions. I gave ruthless men a tour of my aunt’s treasures, like her fine, antique china on the side board, so that they broke a window in the door on the back porch, and ended up taking large amounts of that china away from her when we weren’t home.
My elders in the family gave me some old fashioned tough love when I had the audacity to be that sort of young drunk under their roof. They got so fed up with me, they loaded me up with a suitcase full of my clothing. They took me to the city with a newspaper, to find me a modest place to wallow in my drunkenness, without vexing them too much any longer. They were all thru with me.
My mother and aunt would put up with me pinching bills out of their purses, but when the neighbors broke into the house, I was finally on the outs with my mother and aunt. I remember, with horror, at an afternoon I found myself holding my own aunt at bey with a knife, not having any conscious idea that I even had the knife in my hand. I was that drunk when she tried to confront me in the kitchen with some of the things I’d done under her roof. I threatened my own mother’s sister, who was feeding, clothing and housing me in grand style. I ended up in the city in a one room flop house.
My Maker might have just taken my life away from me at that point, before I was even thirty, over my mistaken idea of how glorious it would be to destroy my own memory with drugs and alcohol. Certain youthful experiences of mine had given me an inclination to drink a lot of alcohol, and take a lot of reefer, as an antidote for having some unfortunate memories from my childhood. I was a vile and vulgar person, when I was a drunk. I offended all those around me.
It was only later I finally understood my motivations.
I ended up with a miserable comforter in my new surroundings, who kept me penniless, and hopelessly addicted to drugs and alcohol. That poor excuse for a human being almost cost me my life. Larry was extorting all my income from me on a monthly basis, from the time I first arrived in that hovel of a room in the city. All I had was a check from Social Security. I’d met the man in the state hospital years before, but he became my constant tormenter and gave me no end of trouble.
Larry was always wanting to play chess with me, and whenever I said or did something he didn’t like, he’d rap me on my shins with a stick. He had the most distorted concept of the Gospel, and I scorned him to his face, although it never slowed down his fury against me. He was always offering me the worst deals, like half as much reefer as what I’d paid for, and a loan of $20 worth of reefer on Saturday, with $50 due him on Monday morning. The count on the reefer was pitiful.
He came and roused me out of bed as soon as the bank opened Monday morning, and wrestled me to the teller’s window on foot, with my eyes half open in the morning of the new week. He strong armed me into getting him his graft, and I was powerless to oppose him in any kind of fashion. My impetus was my addiction to the drugs. I could not refuse the man, and he knew it.
I was at the mercy of a man who had no mercy. It was only after I was going in and out of the hospital a couple of more times, that Larry was finally getting arrested and was spending time in jail, when I finally got some closure on relief.
Christopher was a more affable person, a true friend and boon companion in those days, who shared my quarters with me for some little bit of time. Christopher was a heroine addict, and otherwise a very nice person. He would bring me bottles of wine and morsels of cheese for my consumption in the evening, when I was starving at the hands of my miserable comforter.
Christopher and I would walk from Thirtieth Street to Franklin Avenue, a walk of thirty blocks, to attend the soup kitchen for a free meal once a day, at lunch time. This was a down hill walk of thirty blocks to get to the soup kitchen to get soup and a sandwich, and then an uphill walk of thirty more, to get home again. I could hardly muster the strength for the trip.
Years later I heard that Christopher finally got fed up with his struggle against the heroine, bought a lot of ammo for his guns, and shot them out his window until the police came and killed him. There, but for the Grace of God, go I.
The alcohol and drugs were such a constant torment to me, but I could not conceive of how to escape from the horrors of my situation. I didn’t even realize what the problem was. I was a slave to the chemicals and that man, Larry. It was a time of my life that I am not proud of, which nearly cost me an early grave. My mother would come down to see me in the city now and then, and take me out to eat, when I was stoned and starving all the time.
My mind was boggled on the alcohol and drugs so badly that I can’t imagine how I ever survived. Many a time I went to the ER and to the state hospital, searching for a solution to a problem that I could scarcely comprehend. Just the reefer and the wine, in and of themselves, would have an impetus within themselves, independent of my personal wishes and my own will, to hold me imprisoned in the need to have them as much as I could get them.
I had to get high, and didn’t even consciously realize it. I was always starving and paying outrageous sums of money, to get a hold of more substances, dying by the inch rather than the mile. My addiction made me the kind of man who would lie, cheat and steal to get my drugs and alcohol. My trouble seemed to have no solution. The one saving grace that I had was to end up in a state hospital one more time, and set my mind on a course of getting two doctor’s certificates against me, so that the hospital would not let me go again so easily. It was then that I finally got the help I needed.
It took me years in the state hospital, and a full nine months in the program, before I ever conceived of the solution to be conquering my addictions. My Maker helped me see that my life was worth saving. Now, I live in the lap of luxury, with better than a quarter century away from all intoxication. I’m a very grateful man, to be the receiver of so many blessings, after having lived such a life. My benefactors have passed away unharmed. They died of old age, and probably broken hearts.