Last night, as my little rat terrier, Caesar, and I returned from our final walk of the day, we encountered the man I used to be, and was until the very same evening 25 years ago.
After holding the fob to unlock the door at the front entrance of the high rise, I avoided a big puddle of coffee, lightened with creamer, to get through the door. As this happened, I heard an unfamiliar woman, who was pacing in front of the building with her phone to her ear, pleading for an ambulance.
As I entered the lobby, I saw my neighbor from down the hall, holding up a neighbor from further down the hall who, alarmingly intoxicated, was bleeding from his forehead. The latter, moments before, had walked, head first, into the front door I’d just entered. I watched this pallid man, about 15 years younger than I, writhe from the grasp of the much larger and stronger man and fall to the marble floor, this time banging the back of his head. You could hear the thud of his skull following the impact of his body.
He continued trying to stand up and eventually crawled into the elevator, after the other man left him there with me, attempting to calm him. Unaware of the blood on his face; insisting he was fine, he pleaded with me to just let him go up to his apartment and sleep, as I stood there, holding the retracted door from closing with my foot. He persisted, even after I made it entirely clear I would not allow him anywhere until he had medical help.
Eventually, I convinced him to lay down, and held my right palm to his shoulder as the door man disabled the elevator, and until the police and paramedics arrived.
Twenty-five years ago to the day, also at the golden hour, I was subdued. I was the one who was so lost, and so outrageously drunk, in the way that only people who can’t help it ever get.
Because I know the pain he’s is trying to conquer, I knew to give him the same love and compassion someone gave me, as everyone else there looked down on him with disgust.
Anyone who has survived such an experience can tell you, addiction is not the problem, but the solution, as inadequate as it may be.
It’s a symptom of the problem – that we live in a society where, whether we know it or not, most people are profoundly sad and disconnected, from ourselves and others.
That’s the disease I’m fighting. And, there will never be enough money, booze, sex, drugs, toys, power, influence, control, online content, distractions, vaccines, or anything else to heal it.
Love is the only thing that has ever worked or ever will.
Thank you to all of you who loved me before, when I greeted God with my middle finger. Thank you to those who loved me that day and those before, when I nearly drank myself to death, not unlike the man last night.
Thank you to everyone who sat with me while I shed the tears that had to come out. And, thanks to all of you who have loved me since, these past 25 years, as I’ve grown closer, inch-by-inch, to becoming the man I was always meant to be.
Please pray for Chris, who somehow managed to tell me his name.
Episode 140 of The Path to Authenticity marked 25 years since the day that changed the course of my life. I decided to commemorate the occasion by telling the story. Thank you, and enjoy -tg
The Path to Authenticityis a podcast for people looking for more from life. It focuses on emotional wellness and starts from the premise that our true power comes from our individuality. We talk to various types of writers and artists as well as therapists, coaches, teachers, entrepreneurs, and professionals of all kinds. Our guests possess one common trait. They’re people who know who they are. We talk about what makes them who they are, how they became who they are, and how we might become truer expressions of who we are.