As I wait for the bus on 125th street & Lexington (Spanish Harlem) my eyes take in the multitude of active addicts walking the streets. It conjures up a lot of feelings. I go from praying to remembering.
As a recovering addict I know that so many of these addicts, men and women, are caught in a spiral of pain and anguish. They’ve become prisoners to life’s circumstances. So many of them abused sexually, violently and verbally. As long as they stay active in their drug intake they will never know that they don’t have to carry that burden. It’s not theirs to carry.
I look at some of them and I don’t know if it’s a mutual lock of the eyes but I can see the ones that were betrayed and taken advantage of by someone that was supposed to protect them but instead were beaten and spoken to till their spirit became wingless. I can see that they cannot and will not replay any of those moments unless they are in a haze or cloud of smoke.I can see that in their eyes, in the way they speak but most importantly in how hard they do drugs. They are trying to numb out what happened to them. trying their nest to push it down very deep into Never Never Land. They don’t want to allow that pain to become tangible or overwhelming not knowing that it is fear of letting it go. Be no fool there is a fear in letting go. Even when you know it will benefit you you refuse to even ignite or give space to all that pent up hurt and anger and sadness. Those in active addiction have become best friends with their demons that it feels like they are literally letting go of an immediate family member. They have become so accustomed to that pain that it makes them feel incomplete if it’s not present.
I know this fear and pain all to well. I can remember when the pain was better than feeling the reality of what had occurred in my life at the hands of those I was supposed to love and trust and be safe with. I recall roaming those streets searching for that ultimate fill in a strangers touch or in a clique of undesirables. Trying to complete myself with something that was absolutely different than to what inflicted the pain. I ran away from me and into the arms of addiction for a very long time. As long as I felt something that wasn’t empty or hurtful then I was OK.
What I didn’t know was that I wasn’t alone. That I could survive. That there are things I can do and apply that will help me cope and forgive. Shit I would learn that I can forgive the ones that inflicted all this hurt and fear and pain. All of this ran through my mind in 20 minutes, the time it took for the bus to come. This journey has been an incredible 48 years. I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t want to repeat it but I don’t regret it.