I ran across a story one of my former friends penned, and there are striking similarities to my own story and the main character in her story. Though this story was crafted as a work of fiction, I certainly recognize the truth of a time in my life in its paragraphs. And, reading this very good work reminded me of some very hard times, indeed.
Today, I am an alcoholic in recovery. As well as being in recovery I also deal day-to-day with psychiatric illness, which is a struggle (though it is a struggle I beat every time I make good, positive life choices, exercise and diet appropriately). Anyone can become an alcoholic. There are always a thousand 'good reasons' to take a drink. But, there is only one excellent reason for not drinking: Alcohol was not made for all people and some people are alcoholic and others aren't.
This main character "Eric" is a broken man, reduced to living in the streets, a victim of his own demons. The story the author penned is not 100 percent accurate, and the author, I am sure, never intended it to be so or regarded as a work of non-fiction. Nowhere in this work does the author say I was an inspiration to her, but I have a 'psychic twinkle' about this one -- because this is a hard story to make up (and an even harder one to live). This tale does bear a very close resemblance to a reality I lived, while in my addictions and being untreated for PTSD while living in Keansburg.
I was there during Hurricane Sandy and was one of so many who faced the blunt-force trauma of that storm's fury. This is not a sympathetic treatment of the "Eric" character, and that is fine because (if this was based upon me) in those days there wasn't much to inspire very much sympathy about me in others.
After I lost a child, whatever shred of sanity I had was buried with him in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2012. I became lost; heck, I was lost even before that, I suppose. This story would, if it followed my actual timeline, take place about the same time I actually did move back to Keansburg in the wake of that great loss.
I have to say, this is wonderfully written by the author. This can be a story to inspire people about what a true 'bottom' might look like in one's life. If for no other reason, this tale can be a cautionary tale for those who are wandering down the path to addiction.
You see, addiction grabbed hold of me and destroyed who I was and mental illness was there at every turn, making the world around me someplace dark and menacing. As you read this story, I want you to keep in mind that there is a lot of truth in these words and those who view it should know that, if anything, the author made this tale more palatable for mainstream audiences and that the actual truth of those times for me, and others like me who I knew, was even darker than in her pages.
I came back to life through recovery, which is available to all of us. All any of us have to do to recover is be tired of being sick and tired of addiction. Similarly, to those who suffer from mental illness and refuse to take meds, I ask how illegal drugs or alcohol helps to put their life back on track. Fixing substance addiction problems without addressing psychological disorders is as useful as fixing a funnel but leaving a whole in the bottom of the bucket you are trying to fill up.
Recovery works and is available in any one of thousands of meetings that take place all across this great nation and even the world every single day.
I wish the author all success and praise their work. There is no better story than the one that has the possibility of touching the lives of others.