I was living in a flop house, which is a single room with a bare minimum of furnishings. I had to entertain a whole slew of low life’s from the state hospital in that place. I didn’t have much in the first place, but there were people who made certain I spent my money on alcohol and drugs. I would have been more than happy to buy my own cigarettes, but that wouldn’t help me get food.
It wouldn’t help me to get alcohol and drugs, either.
The one guy showed up on the street to a hail fellow well met. He was always in the most festive of spirits, having found his main squeeze. Had I heard of the live theater over at the college? It was showing that evening. Free show. I never had any kind of problem getting alcohol whenever I went anyplace. He even seemed to know exactly what kind of money I was carrying.
It could only have been a few dollars at a time, but that’s what alcohol cost me.
The one thing that makes me wonder about myself, is the fact that I soon had no clue what was going on. And this was going on for the better part of ten years? How on earth was I managing, I’d like to know? I couldn’t get much of anything to eat. I was starving. Forget cigarettes. In fact, I was only getting a thin sandwich and a bowl of thin soup every now and then.
I was confused for a very long period of time.
We’re not talking any major intoxication.
We’re talking beer and reefer, and that’s about it.
When I was living with Mom and Auntie, I was drinking alcohol anytime I wanted. I was an habitual drug user, anytime I wanted, and much to the alarm of my elders, kept the company of disreputable men. Mon and Auntie were even providing a car for me to use. I had it made. The two of them made certain I had the best of everything. I think it was out of love, too.
The day came for some tough love, and the one to level it was Auntie Auntie was the boss. The straw that broke the camel’s back was this: one day a drug buddy of mine broke into Auntie’s house, and helped himself to a little plunder. The state police investigated the situation, and found the culprit. He was one of my drug buddies up near where Mom and Auntie were pampering me.
Then, I was down in the city doing without most things, in a big way.
What Mother didn’t seem to realize was that my ability to chose restaurants was deteriorating, along with my ability to think and reason altogether. The other thing was that I losing was my ability to formulate sentences and even words. My mental health was deteriorating right along with my physical health. I needed a hospital, quickly, but the hospitalization was not forthcoming.
She’d buy me some kind of luscious meal, which I devoured as only a starving man would. I would have told her about the nature of my circumstances when we were at the restaurant, but couldn’t formulate the report. This is from the same guy who graduated high school with honors, and used to earn merit scholarship awards every semester in college.
Those were the days.
Found new levels of misery I never knew existed.
Mother used to show up downtown in her nice, fancy car, every now and then, to take me out for supper. What she didn’t seen to realize was, that it was my only balanced meal in a month. I’m certain Mother had plenty to cover for the two of us. We’d go to some nice restaurant, of my choosing. What Mother didn’t realize was that I was thinking with a starved mind, physically.
If she knew how much trouble I was in, living in a flophouse, it’s news to me.
There was this guy. I always figured him for a friend. Invited him to sleep on my floor, to save him a little money. He did it, too. He would come home some nights, and bring me some little bits of food somehow. We’d have things like bread, cheese and cheap red wine. Whenever I’ve suggested the kind of wine by name, to people, everyone of them turned up their noses at it.
It was just a little discount red wine.
It was almost a meal in itself.
It’s not that I was in only the one flophouse the whole time I was downtown. I was in two of them, actually. There one flophouse within walking distance of the music conservatory, and my friend and I, same guy, used to walk over to the conservatory to have lunch. I would get along much better at this place than I did the other, but there were times I’d have to go back to the state hospital.
When I visited the neighborhood, there were girls wanting to know where I’d been.
I ended up taking a day pass from the state hospital, and I go down by the conservatory. There were all these girls from the conservatory asking me questions about my well being, hanging on my every word. The president had enacted the privacy act, and nobody could get any information about Anyone transferred from an ER to any kind of hospital.
Those girls didn’t understand my mental illness.
I left behind a whole slew of friends who wanted to know where I’d gone, and was I alright.
I stood in the winter weather trying to explain chronic schizo-affective disorder.
I had good friends there, between the Christian fellowship and the conservatory, mostly young women. At the church that sponsors the young adult group, I got a lost of sympathy, but little comprehension. The world is still like that today. Nobody seemed to be prepared for the eventually that I would, one day, have find it necessary to go to the state hospital.
My buddy and I, who used to get together at the young adult Christian fellowship. We’d go one evening per week. It was a lot of fun, the way things were in those days. There was no such thing as all this charismatic Christianity that’s going on now. We had a lot of fun, singing songs and talking to the ladies. One person there seemed to believe in my ability to speak Spanish.
We’d get together in the kitchen of the church and have conversations in the other language.
One of the girls at the meeting house of the Christian fellowship made the observation once, that she’d never heard anyone pray the way I did. I couldn’t see what was so remarkable about it, but I just smiled and let her to rave. I’ve been talking to God my whole life. We even took a long ride out in the country once, but she eventually went away, because of the state hospital environment.?
I became quite the man around town there.
But I couldn’t get into that same flop house when I returned from the state hospital. Down by the music conservatory, my money all was my own, and therefore it was my own issue. Not so at this other place. I had the alcohol man and the drug man to deal with all the time. I was a lot farther away from everything, which meant I was cut off from most of it.
I couldn’t very well walk thirty city blocks after dark. I lost all my friends and the environment where I could talk publicly with God. I kept looking for that environment once I moved away, but it was not forthcoming. I think I miss talking to God more than I did those women. I never found another environment where I could just have a conversation with God.
Having a relationship with God has always had significance to me.
Between the alcohol man and the drug man, they pretty well decided what I spent my little bit of money on. The drug man used to muscle me, but the alcohol man was more subtle. The drug man was more blatant. He had the nerve to go into my bank with me, and push me around until he had his money, whatever I owed him. I guess the bank officials figured my business was mine to deal with.
We happened to be on a college campus at the time, where my bank branch was located.
All I could do for myself was lay in bed at night and dream the dreams of a drunken drug user, until eventually, God came and ministered to me. I finally achieved sobriety, and its been my treasure ever since. That was thirty years ago that I received the miracle I was looking for. There have been an awful lot of drunks I’ve met over the years, I would have liked to give sobriety to.
I understand that I don’t have that kind of power.