Monday, June 28, 2010

The View From the Mountain


It took the date from hell yesterday to make me realize how far I have come in the last eight months since my life fell apart. When I first returned home from Houston, I was a mess--the poster child for all basket cases everywhere. I could no more put together a cohesive thought without committing some sort of social faux pas than fly to Jupiter on my Gold plated flying saucer. However, I now know that although I am not completely healed, I am pretty damned close.
Yesterday's fiasco was something that I would not have put myself through in a million years if I had foreseen what was to come. I was in the company of a very physically ill man who was not only addicted to the legal marijuana and painkillers that were prescribed to him for chronic pain, but to alcohol as well. During the course of the afternoon, I had been party to something I perceived as illegal and immoral, which I will not mention here, sat through his drinking and smoking pot, and watched a perfectly coherent and almost normal man turn into the Gollum. This is a man who has hit rock bottom; who's only direction to go beyond death, is up. I "counseled" him as much as I could in the hours that I voluntarily spent with him, in which I learned much about the weaknesses of the human body, the longings of the soul, and the impact a positive attitude has on our lives and those of others. I was made aware of the pain of loneliness and what it can do to a person. I wonder if this man had had a better circle of people around him earlier in his life, would he be where he is now, living in a camper trailer without a refrigerator and no gas to heat his water? Would he be drinking himself into a troll-like stupor every evening to fill his lonesome hours? Would he be latching on so quickly and so unhealthily dramatically to any person that showed any sign of care? What was it he was missing?
Naturally, we swapped "stories", and his was blackened with that downward spiral of bad luck that seems to have followed him for years. He did, at one point, admit he was an alcoholic, but retracted later in the afternoon, forgetting what he had told me previously while he was still slightly sober. I tried to impress on him the value of "climbing mountains"--that sometimes, they seem impossible and the desire to climb even one step is often difficult to come by, but that, in order to reach the top, we have to strap on our gear and just start climbing. I don't know if he understood me, or even if he heard me. It did, however, help me to realize how hard the steps for me were and how far up the mountain I have come since last October. I did not have near the struggle in climbing that this man obviously will have, should he choose to take on the mountain, but I do know that without that first step, I could never have gone anywhere and would have remained in that bad place, cursing the day just as he is doing now.

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