As I hop off the BX15 bus on Lexington Avenue to grab the 6 train I am overwhelmed by the visible rampant addiction all around me present on all 4 corners. I light a cigarette and take in all that goes by allowing the sights and sounds and smells attack me.
I know who these people are. Each and every single tecato that my eyes catch- I know who they are! Each of these men & women have a song, a story, an excuse and a mentality of self-imprisonment. I say this solely from experience. Me being an addict for over 10 years I know these people. My stomach was turning into knots as I laid eyes on each of them. So many of them with the potential to be amazing, stunning human beings. Some of them extremely smart- cause to live on the streets you HAVE to be a smart cookie. As I looked at them they became transparent to me.
They reminded me of the many nights I stood for days not bathing or caring what I looked like just because I wanted to get high. the way I had made my life a daily struggle! How i was walking around for years just angry at the world and life. Everyday living in a fear that was so ingrained in me that I couldn’t identify it till I got clean. This fear had saturated me whole that it had me locked and loaded and walking with fear and hatred every single day of my waking life!
I don’t know if it’s the many years I have clean but i was able to smell them and the drugs. I was able to tell who was carrying drugs and who was sick and who was scheming. I was able to see their pain which was so evident on their face. hiding it behind a tough false sense of swag! It was such an eye opener.
For a split second I remembered the reasons behind my addiction. This false sense of entitlement to stay addicted because of pain. In my head the whole scenario of entering the rehab and being stared at by so many men was frightening. How I knew that I had to stick this out because the epiphany I received was much stronger than the desire to use. TI started to remember the day I left the rehab and how I was just so scared to go back home. It was in the rehab that I finally realized that I was scared of living. It was in this safe environment that a counselor was able to break me and allow me to see that I had a fear of life because of who I was, what I was, what I liked. In that month it all became clear that I was building walls around me that were literally take the life out of me. I had given individuals power by carrying what they had inflicted on me from their own self-hatred. I can just imagine what I must of looked like at the time. Walking in there 125lbs, thin eyebrows and a tough exterior that was hiding the numb inside me.Scared that I was miles away from home and just wanted to roll up into a ball in a dark room and just let the days go by till I could go back home. Just a big ole mass of hopelessness.
I stood looking at this and reminiscing till i pulled the last drag of my cigarette. i did the sign of the cross and said- But for the grace of GOD go I”. I stepped on it and just walked down to the train station to begin the rest of my day being thankful that i no longer lived that way. That I had found a way to live.