Last night was interesting. Sometimes people and situations appear in my path and it’s impossible to deny that it’s all for a reason. I just follow what’s put in front of me in those moments and do the best I can. Coincidences get my attention because I know there are no coincidences. Last night was a lot like that.
I get off from work early on Tuesdays because Tuesday night is my AA home group meeting and I like to be there somewhat early, all showered and with a meal in me. I normally have a little bit of time to relax. But as soon as I walked in the door last night, I got a desperate phone call via Facebook. It was a guy I’ll call John . He needed a ride to a meeting but he wanted to get together before the meeting because he said he needed to talk. I told him I’d take a quick shower and then pick him up for coffee. Fine with me. I often give drunks rides to meetings and try to help in any way I can. I need to help other alcoholics to stay sober. It helps me. I know this.
Within ten minutes I got another call also through Facebook that was the same thing. This guy (I’ll call him Matt) also needed a ride to the meeting and he was in really bad shape. He asked me if I could pick him up because he really needed help. Of course I agreed to help him with a ride.
It was going to be logistically impossible for me to pick up both John and Matt after a quick shower and do it all much before the meeting. It was really kind of crazy. I don’t often get calls begging desperately for a ride and here I had two of them within ten minutes from guys in completely opposite directions on the map. I needed to get a fourth person involved to pick up Matt and be his ride to the meeting. And then I had to contact a fifth person to arrange for the club to be open early so we could go there for the coffee and the pre-meeting talk. John really needed to talk as soon as possible. It was strange and coincidental that I got two calls from similar guys in opposite cities needing the same thing at the same time. But the thing that stood out most was the fact that these two young men are heroin addicts. Heroin is something that I’ve never done.
I was supposed to say or hear something. I was supposed to do something. I was called to help two addicts desperately in need of help.
The insanity of addiction in these two young men was almost overwhelming to witness.
John has 11 days clean. He’s lost everything of value in life and his thinking is sick and twisted. He’s been in the program before and thinks he knows everything. He says he’s hit his last bottom. I’m not so sure….
Matt was clean for about a year because he was in prison. He’s been out for about a month and he’s been using. He went right back to it. He’s angry at everyone and everything. He claims he wants to get clean but it’s clear that he also wants to get high again. It’s the terrible place of in between. He’s got less than one day clean and I’m sure that while he was texting on his phone during the meeting he was trying to score his next fix. He was scratching and twitching and texting the whole hour. It was impossible to have a conversation with him.
John had no problem talking. He seemed to be on some kind of stimulant and talked a mile a minute. Outrageous stuff about his huge appetite for women and money and sex. He bragged about the huge piles of cash he supposedly made and how many women he’d destroyed with his enormous manhood. He told stories that were larger than life about his incredibly high IQ and the epic crimes he’d committed. He said horribly racist things that sounded white supremacist or neo-Nazi. He was loud and arrogant and unwilling to listen to anything from anyone. He was off of heroin for 11 days and he was scary as hell.
They were both out of control and unwilling or unable to listen. But they were there. They had both reached out and showed up.
One very cool thing happened. John told me that he had talked with Matt outside while they smoked a cigarette. He was telling him about a place that would take him for detox and how he could get in there. John was trying to help another addict and he himself was only that 11 days clean. For me, that was a moment of hope I took home last night.
Maybe the strange confluence of events was just God’s way of putting John and Matt together for that cigarette and the conversation about detox. I don’t know. I can’t pretend to know why anything happens. I really can’t. But do I know that I didn’t drink last night. And I know that at least one of those addicts didn’t use last night. One more day matters. One more night. One more hour or minute. Because for drunks and addicts like us, this really is life or death…..and I’m really tired of all of the dying.