Unwanted in Life

Let me share a story I know about this guy and you can be the one to judge whether his story is sad or not.

I met him in Cape Cod. He’s around my size, enjoys the same music, loves the same sport teams, works construction. Part of why we connected. He also loves heroin. I mean he loves it. Fortunately though, he hasn’t stuck a needle in his arm or ingested any opiates in 5 1/2 yrs; an amazing feat by any account.

Those are some good things about him and his life. He tries his hardest to help another addict or human being who’s having it rough in life or struggling with any form of addiction and mental health problems. But that’s what he shows, acts upon, and uses as a cover up- a disguise masking who he really is.

Like myself, his mother passed away and he hasn’t spoken to his family since, not because he chooses not too talk but because they’ve refused his many attempts of reaching out and building something that was never really there in the first place: a relationship.

He understands the strength and importance of both of the words, love and hate, and those two words only circumvent the same two people in his life. He hates himself because he was never available during his mother’s last days on earth and he hates himself because he lost an ex girlfriend and isn’t good enough to ever get her back. Sometimes he can’t look at himself in the mirror or pursue interested flames because he is drowning in worthlessness and self doubt. My heart hurts when writing about this pain and regret because I know it’s real.

What he can’t shake is that those two people were also the only people who’ve ever loved him unconditionally, and when it was too late, he realized that he- too- can now love them unconditionally as well. But, it’s too late for that. His mother is never coming back and his ex may as well never come back also.

He sabotages every single thing that’s good for him in his life. He doesn’t believe he deserves better. He claims, if there’s a heaven or an afterlife, that he’s not welcome. He doesn’t try nor think about ways to end his misery but you can almost see- upon his straight grin and melancholy eyes- that he prays that he doesn’t wake up the next morning and instead put an infinite end to his existence.

His heart is bigger then I’ve ever seen. His decision making is who he is, always suffering from the backfire from helping another human, a suffering that’s wound him in hospitals, jails, and even the shelter in which he now calls home, located here in Hyannis. He’s not wanted by old or new friends. His family stopped acknowledging his presence years ago and wouldn’t give him a chance regardless of what he’s done to improve himself or others. He feels and sees hatred daily within himself which in return reflects his place on this planet.

And, too, I understand.

The Adventure

As I ride home from work upon the Red Line(the infamous subway from Good Will Hunting), I can’t help wonder what all these people are going through in life.

There is an Asian woman and her little daughter I just gave my seat to and I wonder why they boarded the train to just get off at the next stop. I see at the end of the trolly car 3 high school football players, filling the atmosphere with their addictive laughter, one almost leaving his helmet and shoulder pads behind while they rushed out the sliding doors. There’s the woman sitting across from where I stand reading on her Kindle while the student standing next to me fumbles, and catches, his book, interrupting the story I don’t pay any mind about.

A girl removes and blows the inside of her glasses off and I stand wondering if I didn’t do a good enough job dusting myself off before I left work. I search around, swearing I’d find an obvious addict, and I think I found a kid who fits the mold- head leaning into his lap so far that others may wonder if he’s just trying to zipper up his fly with his teeth- but who am I to label someone when I’m no better then the next. Plus, I’ve been in his shoes not too long before.

I ask myself who in here has suffered a loss lately; a mother, father, a friend or a neighbor. Doesn’t matter who, as long as this loss has meaning- some importance and unknowing longevity the future has inteaded.

I listen to Eva Cassidys cover of Fields of Gold and think about the girl who broke my heart not long before my life came crumbling down. I close my eyes and see her bare back facing me as she sits at the end of my bed, her neck nearly breaking as she turns to watch me watch her, and I can’t help but lose my breath for that moment.

A man boards my car and stands beside me, lugging a cart on two wheels with a sign asking, “Is Satan Dead?” I’m not one to judge but I know this is my cue to leave. I pick my backpack off the floor and turning towards the slidding doors, the man with the cart looks at me and says, “God Bless You!”.

I exit and think to myself- same to you!

My Tribute To The Beast

Greg Rhodes says he was a beast. He has told me and others this hundreds of times. He believed he was unstoppable, laughing in the face of fear, never worrying about the future but instead telling us what he had in store for himself. He was convinced he was going to have that sexy hot girl on his arm. He expected to have money in the future. He went to the gym, dressed as though he was a lifting God, and pushed through pain and sweat so he could one day lift incredible amounts of weight and be jacked. I should know because I was his work out partner for 6 months while living with him at Charlestown Recovery.

I can not speak of who he was as a person before I met him but I have every right to remember the friend I’ve had since he introduced himself to me during a chicken cutlet and rice pilaf dinner.

Greg had a laugh which made me smile. He talked in a way no one else did, most times mumbling words and having to repeat them to me. He walk with a slight slunch until he raised his head and his chest puffed out. He stood silent and talked when spoken to or when he felt he needed to say something, never out bursting or interrupting me. He even stood in front of our entire house at my graduation and spoke kind words while presenting me with my medallion. Greg knew exactly when I was hurt or confused, especially pertaining to my girlfriend and I, and he sat listening and talking to me for hours about what he knew was my crazy non sense, but he did it anyway, never complaining or getting aggrivated. I’ve been forever grateful for that.

He loved his mother and Big Papa Roads (which he always said with that grin) and missed his brother. He retold stories of growing up down by the Cape as if they were being read out of a history book. He called me every weekend he went home to visit, telling me he needed to move back there, out of worry for his dad’s health. His heart, I knew, was with his family.

I will never see Greg again. I will never see that smiling guy, slowly telling me how he will one day have the perfect life and be happy, his words escaping a mouth surrounded by his goatee. I will never feel the warmth of his heart as I tell him about my mother. We will never laugh together because of how I over reacted about something. But what I’ll miss most about Greg not being here anymore is his name coming across my cell phone and when I read his text it says, “Man, I miss you.” Well, Greg, I miss you. I love you. And I’ll see you again one day. Send my love to my Ma. I always agreed with you, didn’t I, with your self proclaimed title. Go get ’em, Greg. You’re a Beast.

Part One: The Beginning

Throughout my story, my family plays a major role. I believe most families play major roles in addicts lives but all families contributions to the addicts stories are different. My family stood on two total different sides of the spectrum: all the way to the left( growing up) and all the way to the right(during and at the end of my using). So growing up, my family was perfect. No arguing or fighting. No drama that I recall. My father never hit me and my mother was my best friend. And neither my parents nor any other family members brought drugs or alcohol into or around the house. We never even had beer in the refrigerator or alcohol stuffed in a cabinet. Nothing.

My parents never divorced, still going on dates until my mothers last days. They worked endlessly to provide for me and my brothers and by doing so we just made status as a middle class family. I was never spoiled but my parents never allowed us to grow up without having a great childhood, whether it be big birthdays and Christmas’ or annual vacations to Cape Cod and New Hampshire.

I grew up in the town of Wakefield, Ma. To this day I still think of it as the model town. Main St being a strip of stores that cover every basic need. Good schools. A giant lake that we can walk around or relax by, watching fireworks or enjoying the 4th of July Parade. Parks and playgrounds in every neighborhood. Woods to build forts in and hills to go sledding down. I loved growing up here.

I was always a wise ass, sarcastic, and angry. I’ve searched for answers to these defects and none have arisen. I was raised with unbelievable morals from unbelievable parents so that can’t be my excuse, nor can the place I grew up in. I was never a bully but I did at times pick on people but looking back I know it wasn’t because I had unresolved issues or anything. I just did it and at times thought it was fun. I did suffer from depression though. A lot of it. I was angry, sad, quiet. I remember most of it starting after a friend of mine who I grew up with was killed on the first day of summer vacation. I won’t say anything more than that experience of death was my first and it left an untreated wound in my heart and in my conscious that I didn’t accept or get over until almost a decade later.

My first time doing a drug was marijuana and I was excited to see what would happen. Everyone my age just graduated the D.A.R.E. Program and in all honesty, I liked what I heard of the effects weed produced. It just seemed interesting. So one Friday night at the age of fourteen, I hid behind these huge electric power breakers near my high school and smoked a joint for the first time with 3 other friends of mine. And it did nothing.

But the time after that it did. I loved everything about it. My vision seemed more 3D than usual. I couldn’t stop laughing. And music sounded better… So I thought.

For the next 4 yrs of high school I smoked weed on a daily basis. If you saw me inside or outside of school, I was stoned. But that isn’t the only thing I did. I also began hanging out with kids a grade or two older than me. The had cars so I found myself attending parties every weekend. Alcohol was the structure these parties seemed to build upon but after experiencing my first hangover, I told myself I’d never drink again. And so be it, to this day I’ve probably only been drunk 20 times. But other things were at these parties:ecstasy, cocaine, acid and mushrooms. And at times I would throw pills I didn’t even know about in my stomach like Valium, Klonopin, Xanax, Vicodin, and Percocet. Next thing I knew, my weekends disappeared friends telling me what we did because I didn’t remember. The Benzos weren’t exactly my favorite but I still couldn’t tell myself not to take them if the opportunity arose. But the psychedelics were my favorite by far. I had two groups of friends: the Jocks & the non-Jocks which a lot of people labeled us as “The Crew”. The Crew became my family. The Crew became my best friends. We were punks. Young teenage punks. All we wanted to do was have fun; party, get high, get drunk, fuck girls, sell drugs, get in fights, but most of all we were loyal and we set out to conquer the world. Or at least that’s what it seemed like at that time.

From the time I was 14 years old to 19 years old, that’s what my life consisted of. I barely passed high school although I knew I was one of the smarter people. I went to college but never took it serious, only attending because I wanted to continue playing baseball. Nothing in the world mattered except for having a fun time and getting high with my friends. Any money I earned went straight to drugs and concerts. I couldn’t hold a job and I begun this downward spiral in life from having my head on straight to becoming an irresponsible oxygen waster. But what did I care… I would tell myself I have the rest of my life to get serious but right now it’s time to have fun.

Well, fun I was having and fun is part of what led my heart to go into cardiac arrest on the baseball diamond at the age of 19.