Written and contributed by Girlswithoutshoes
I heard a cough from the alley behind the gas station this morning. I was getting in my car for work and heard someone cough. I peeked around the alley and saw him laying there. He had a blue tarp on him and was coughing. He must have been cold. I thought who is that bum sleeping in the alley?
I went to the gas station and asked the girl who ran the place if she knew about this. She said she did not and we went to look at him. We looked at him and he looked back. He looked familiar to me. He kind of looked like someone I knew. I said, “Steve, is that you?”. It was indeed Steve.
We asked if he was alright and he said yes. He said that was as far as he made it from the bar last night. He had totaled his truck a while back. I knew what that meant. Most likely Steve got drunk and wrecked his truck. This was not the first time that he had problems due to his drinking and drug use.
Steve was an extremely handsome guy. I mean he cleaned up real good, trust me. He had many different looks though, depending on what he was doing at the time. There were times that i did not recognize him. Sometimes he looked like some hairy beast walking down the street, other times shaved and clean, like he could conquer the world. He could be extremely frightening, given the proper mixture of alcohol and/or drugs. I would steer clear of him then. When sober, he was the sweetest man you could possibly want to know.
Steve also had a mental illness. I am not sure if it was bipolar or what, but there was some sort of mental illness there from what I remember him telling my husband. Maybe that is how or why he continues to drink. Maybe to calm himself down. I am sure that he has the addictive gene.
There was a time when he got crazy and freaked out and swung some gigantic chain around in the middle of the street, actually in the middle of the bridge that comes into our little town. The cops came, and took him to the mental ward and jail later. He has been in and out of both more times than he can count.
He got married once to the love of his life. They had a little boy, the apple of his eye. Steve really “got clean” several times in order to stay out of jail and to raise his little boy. He did for a time, but I don’t know what happened. All I know that is now, I don’t see him with his little boy at all. I don’t see him with his truck. I only see him occasionally walking around town, or laying in the alley covered with the blue tarp.
The love of his life also has an addiction problem. I have not seen her for years, but all of the years that I knew her, she drank and drank and drank. She also used drugs. She had 3 other children before “apple boy.” The first two she raised through the drinking. The next one she lost to his father due to her drinking. I believe she lost the “apple boy” also.
I know that Steve has been in and out of rehab several times. He went through the best treatment as his parents are wealthy and footed the bill. I am not sure why it “didn’t take” for Steve. I would imagine it came down to choice again.
I have no idea what it is like to crave alcohol or drugs so bad that you would do anything, sacrifice anything for it, even your own child. I can try to understand, knowing about addiction and how it works. But I will never ever understand there even being a “choice” between your addiction and your child. I am not meaning to judge really, but it is hard not to when it comes to the child. Having a child would make the choice for you, in my mind. It is just beyond my understanding. I guess the addiction is bigger than anything.
Yes, I know the bum in the alley. I hope and pray for him. I pray that he will be able to someday stay strong in his choice to stay clean, I pray that he will stay clean for himself. I pray that he will stay clean so that his son will have a father. I pray that he will stay clean so that he may also have “the apple of his eye” back in his life.
For he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye.” Zech 2:8