“To Be Treated”; Terry Reid
Let me know if the YouTube isn’t available.
“So there was my mom, finally starting a career which paid her real money, in a new marriage with a wonderful human being and finally moving past her past… with me on the phone once a month asking for money.”
Living Off The Avails Of Others: The Monster In The Room
“What Really Is and What Might Have Been can get confusing and sometimes people have to live in the later to get past the former… and there’s no quicker way to snap back into What Really Is than a midnight phone call from your son asking for $20 or maybe, you know, $40 for some food.”
Living Off The Avails Of Others: What Really Is And What Should Have Been
“When I got home that night I decided I had had enough of this stupid town and this stupid life. I made sure my little brother was comfortable and knew how to change the channel on the TV, went into my mom’s room and broke into her piggy-bank. I took as many handfuls of pennies I could stuff into my little pockets. I was leaving.”
Living Off The Avails Of Others: A Hand Full Of Pennies
This is the fourth in what will probably be a 2350 part series on what is without a doubt the primary cause of my clinical depressions. Superficially it’s about money… and my total lack of it. But it’s really about a whole lot more… it’s about my relationship with my mother, her parents, my father and his parents. It’s about the help I’ve been offered in my Recovery and in my Life by each of them, how little there has actually been offered and the guilt I feel surrounding the whole freaking mess.
There is one question I cannot answer… and it’s the one I’m asked by everyone I know. I just spent the weekend… actually a decent part of last week trying to save someone. A little melodramatic but I did believe he was heading for a precipice. He had made the classic cries for help we all make just before we walk towards the cliff… he threw the things he cared for most into the fire and called the people he identified with and told them it was over.
It’s what we all do. It’s what I’ve done more than a few times in the past. There wasn’t much I could do of course. I know his name and his email address and not much else. We’re total strangers, we’ve never met and probably never will. I’ve posted a few times on his blog, he returned the favour on mine.
I recognize the same vulnerability in his life that was there in mine for so long. That’s why I did it, and why I’ll be emailing him later on tonight. Why I’ll keep sending him letters and notes. There isn’t much I can do, but I’m doing it all the same. Because of that vulnerability… because when he responds to my emails he’s using the same language of bewilderment and desperation I would have used.
What did you do today? That’s the question I can’t answer. Because I’m still standing still. One thing I’ve noticed is it’s pretty rare for two people to ask that question once they’ve established what it is the other person does. But for people in my position the question almost seems like a counter-introduction.
Hi. Hey. So… what did you do today? Today? Well today I learned my grandparents, who gave me $25 six weeks ago, are paying for my cousin to go on for her Masters, then I got my OneTouch UltraMini Blood Glucose Monitoring System because my doctor thinks I have diabetes then, later on, my girlfriend broke up with me because spending Friday nights on my couch watching a movie just isn’t a real relationship. The Monitoring device is a cool shade of green.
Then, for the rest of the weekend, I sat very still.
I don’t blame her for not seeing a future with me. I rarely see a future with me. She’s a year removed from an abusive relationship, she went back to school and is now working in a real job making real money for herself and her two kids. A good day for me is when I can answer “what did you do this week” with “I spent a day in Ottawa with my mom”.
I’m not angry with her, I’m not even really upset with her. I understand exactly what she did. So I’m not burning stuff, I’m not making phone calls and heading for the bridge, but what it did, what finding out about the diabetes thing did, and about the money my cousin is receiving did, was put me back into a position where I have to ask myself… looking forward, is this worth it? Who am I, based on today’s evidence, at the age of forty?
But of course the question is completely unfair. It’s a question all addicts and other people who are vulnerable ask: Who am I in ten years, in five years, tomorrow? Well… who we are in ten years is someone with ten more years worth of experiences from being alive. Ten more years of learning how to cope and deal with the shit which, otherwise, would overwhelm us.
But when I look forward, especially after a day like I just had, I still see me. I don’t see anyone too different than the person I recognize now in the mirror. I hate that I resent my cousins for the largess poured on them by our grandparents. For the laptops they received, where I had to walk the ten miles to their condo to help my grandfather with his computer because I couldn’t afford bus fare both ways. For their rent occasionally paid by our grandparents while I ate at a soup kitchen.
I wrote something a while back about how the manic depression is relatively easy to fix… but once it’s out of the way it’s the clinical depressions it was hiding, they’re the hard stuff. It’s the primary cause of relapse in addicts. They get their vision back, realize just how fucked everything is and they climb back into the pipe or the bottle.
Well looking forward I see a guy with diabetes, no family of his own… who can’t even afford an entire set of cutlery, sitting down with a cousin with a brand new Masters degree asking me how my fucking day went.