At one time I was a drunk, I now refer to myself as a reformed drunk.
At least that gets a laugh from a few of my friends. I totally stopped drinking 17 years ago. I have tended bar and lived in bars and did not even want anything stronger than a soda. I have never used cocaine, heroin, or any of the other illegal drugs.
As I mentioned above, my life has been affected by it. I have lost friends to drugs, and I have lost women I have cared for to crack and alcohol.
I remember one time I took my children to the ethnic festivals on the Detroit River. One time there was a man in his early 30’s eating out of a garbage can. I couldn’t help but think of myself and when I was struggling.
A couple with no sense or compassion teased him with a cup of beer. They would act like they were giving it to him then take it away. They then threw it in the garbage, and he dove into it to try to get the beer before it all came out of the cup.
My son asked me why he was that way. I said drugs and alcohol had hurt the way he thinks.
Another time we met a friend of the wife’s family. The last time I saw him, he had recovered from his addiction to heroin and was living happily. He was jogging, and he and his wife were going back together. He had two heart attacks and soon after I saw him he died of a heart attack. Heroin had killed him.
A few years ago, after my divorce, I met a young lady who was a joy to be with. Then I found she was cross-addicted to drugs and alcohol.
When she was sober and not high, we had a great time together. When I got money in she would disappear and the drug dealers would start calling. It was a nightmare.
She finally went into detox for a week. She came out and was waiting for a 30-day program. She went a month drug and alcohol-free. We were going to take a long weekend off, and I had $700 together for the trip.
She helped me with my accounting business and the night before the trip she decided to spend the night at my place above the office. She told me to go to bed, and she would come up later after finishing some work.
In the morning, I found my wallet on my desk with a note asking for forgiveness and it was missing $350. The next day the dealers started calling and by the end of the day, the money was gone.
I have had a lot of friends who were addicted to drugs and alcohol. Some quit on their own and some quit with the help of NA and AA. The important thing is to recognize you have a problem and get help.
Until recently it was thought to be an unfortunate problem or a problem induced by the environment or your upbringing. But it’s a human problem that affects all races, nationalities, and ethnic backgrounds.
It is in the schools in the city, in the suburbs and the country. All of us know people who have been hurt or killed by them. When I was in high school, I lost six friends due to accidents that were caused by their or someone else’s drunkenness. I have lost many friends in the last 20 years to drug addiction.
As time goes by the drugs, get worse.
I learned from the streets and 50 years of studying life itself to stay away. Life can be an education if you watch, listen and learn. I have done my best to learn from my mistakes. I hope others will do the same.