When I held my first baby in my arms 33 years ago I never would have imagined the direction my life would take. The early years of babies in diapers, watching them learn to walk and talk swept quickly by followed by soccer games and karate lessons. Then it was school dances and football games. All this to be replaced by the nightmare of Addiction. In AA they refer to the destruction that follows Addiction as "the wreckage of our past". Our family soon became engulfed in that collision course.
Today we are coming out the other side of that nightmare but my view of the world is forever changed. When I hear about someones house being robbed my first thought goes to the perpetrator not the victim. I assume it was a young person desperate to feed their drug habit. When I see a young person wandering aimlessly down the street asking strangers for money I see someone looking for their next high. When I hear about shop owners carrying guns and homeowners shooting intruders I don't see a "junkie loser who deserves it", I see another victim of Addiction.
A few days ago a young man approached me as I was on my morning walk. He asked for some spare change. His designer clothes were disheaveled, his hair unwashed and his face wore the fresh bruises of the previous nights brawl. I told him I didn't have any money. As he walked away I couldn't help myself and I yelled over my shoulder "go home". He replied back, "I don't have a home." My thoughts went to the mother who probably bought him those new tennis shoes who was home hoping and praying that her boy was safe. I saw him again yesterday as I sat in the coffee shop he came in to use the phone. I saw him scurry to a corner table and I heard the words "mom" followed by "I'm OK mom". My heart broke for them both. When he hung up the phone he looked like a lost soul. I asked him over and I said, "I knew you had a home". He told me he did and that he had been speaking with his mom. He told me he knew he was breaking her heart. He joined me for a brief conversation. I could tell he missed his mom. I learned that he was an Alcoholic and had been in and out of the rooms of AA. He was scared and overwhelmed. I looked into the face of Addiction and I saw my boy. I saw your boy. I saw the wreckage of his past and as he walked out the door I said a silent prayer that Danny would survive one more day. I prayed that Danny would find his way home and back into the rooms of AA.