For all the years of my life, (that I remember, that is,) I have been a reckless risk- taker. I am taking a look at that, now. I know I have puzzled and even horrified my parents with some of the wacky stunts I’ve jumped into. My depression, based in diabetes, was often the root of my choices.
In high school, I smoked; I deliberately chose the most serious danger. I was a very good student, academically. My fellow good students were serious, and focused, their eyes on the future. They bored me, so I chose to associate with misfits: The stoners, (though I did not yet smoke pot myself,) the alchies, the angry, resentful, frustrated kids who were planning ways to punish the world for the fact that they were alive. A small group of us, in the band, created our own little misfit club — they became my best friends.
Today, Coastal Transportation placed me, once again, on the methadone-clinic van. I’ve had a different driver each of my three van trips. Each one apologized to me for all the druggies. They didn’t realize that these were my people, or at least some of my people. I find riding in the van a lot of fun — this is a gang in various stages of withdrawal from some hard drugs. They had an odd comfort with each other. I fit in with ease.
Getting to know these people is a risk, in one way: every one of them smokes cigarettes. I smoked for more years than I’ve been diabetic — a very long time. I am comfortable sitting with the smoking women in my apartment building. Today, I sat against the other door, nowhere near the smokers and the temptation. In that way, today’s ride seemed a serious risk.
This ride represented another gamble. As I said, these are my people. My friends, most of my acquaintances, anyone at any party I attended between 1983 and 1999; all of these thousands of people represented freedom to me — a chance to forget about my sadness, though I never did. I was not surprised, today, to feel those memories rising to my consciousness; I felt drawn to that lifestyle, and all my mistakes and all the hurt I inflicted —
Oops — as easily as I was drawn in, I recognized the dangers and put a barrier up. Feeling the hazard in time was a victory, and setting that barrier represented a step toward healthier ties to my now people. They are you, and my family, and my friends — you were all part of the successful resistance I used today. I am now comfortable with this new lifestyle, to my everlasting joy.