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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Addiction - Mental Illness ?

On Oct. 18 we rented a room to one of Keven/Anthony's friends, Michael.  I've known him for years and was always impressed that even though he struggled with addiction, he always worked and had a place to live.  He's a very nice young man hadn't used in at least 90 days (I know that's not much).  He told us he had a full time job so we thought it would be a win/win since we could use the extra money to pay some household bills (now that I am part owner of a home I see all the hidden costs...yikes, taxes, insurance, etc.)

So his first week here he slept almost the entire time and lost his job.  He was friendly and helpful and never even left the house.  I didn't see any signs of using, it was more like depression.

Weeks went on and we became close.  He opened up to me - told me way more than I ever wanted to know.  From the outside he was a tall, good looking guy with intelligence, compassion and a sense of fun.  Inside he was an insecure little boy looking for assurance and direction.

How many of our addicts are the same way?

There was an incident when I thought he was high on heroin.  I was wrong.  But two days later he used meth.  He apologized and said it wouldn't happen again.  I saw no erratic behavior so I decided to give him one more chance.

Still no job.  Rent due.  His mother (who is a neighbor and the sweetest woman on earth AND has terminal cancer, maybe a year left) had him work around their house so he could earn 1/4 of his rent.  I told him he needed to get a job or move on.

His depression turned to super talkative, hyper-happiness.

I asked him if he was ever diagnosed with bi-polar and he said yes but the meds turned him into a zombie.

During all this he and I and my sister have some very moving moments together, mostly when he's playing his guitar and singing (something he doesn't normally do in front of people).  He's given me lots of "Anthony hugs".  He's a decent human being.  I like the guy.

We got to know his 3 1/2 year old daughter and immediately fell in love with her (she stayed on weekends and to us that was a bonus!)

Then he went out on a Saturday night an didn't come home till Tuesday.  He knew I knew he used so he told me he'd move out.  I gave him till the weekend. Meanwhile he had a major life incident over the weekend so I extended his stay until Monday.

Its Tuesday and there is no sign of him but he's been in contact with me and says he'll be out as soon as he can get his ride lined up.  All his stuff is packed up and ready to go.  Sheets washed, etc.  Part of me can't wait for him to be gone, the other part misses him already.  He added some life to this otherwise quiet and sometimes depressing household.

Its obvious to me that he's sick and needs help.  I hope he gets it.  He hasn't used heroin in about 6 months, says he HATES it.  I hope so.

What saddens me is knowing that there are so many Michaels out there.  People that have somehow become mentally ill due to using drugs or use drugs because they are mentally ill.  It doesn't really matter which came first, the result is the same.

I don't regret having him move in but I can see that it was a decision made with emotions at a very vulnerable time (shortly after Anthony's memorial which is where I reconnected with Michael).

In other news - today may have been the day Keven got his sentence.  I'm waiting to hear.

I've been sick for over a week and forgot how miserable it is.

UPDATE:  He came by, got his stuff and is gone.  


Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara