gratitude and thanksgiving

Gratitude and Thanks Make Everyday Special and Worth Living.

Gratitude and thanks are felt everyday, but we let this feeling get pushed out of our hectic busy lives. Start interupting your habits to express more gratitude. Start each day by being thankful for what you have and who has your back.

I wrote a post on Thanksgiving day to extend my gratitude to everyone and lost it to the noise of the day. It was supposed to be a quick post, so I wrote it in my blog editor. The next day when was forced to sign again-the post was gone. I was angered and abandoned it.

Then something happened.  I saw Room 1408- based on a short story by Stephen King. In the movie, the antagonist is a writer. While he is in this demonic room, he endures tremendous mental suffering. At one point he believes he has escaped the room and wrote a book. When he goes to mail the book his world collapses, and he is back in the place. At the end of the story, the writer is at a desk finishing up a book. His wife states that he finished that book rather quickly. He replies that it was easy because he has written it before.

So this morning I am writing this post that should have landed on Thanksgiving Day 2017.

Why now might you be thinking?

The gratitude I felt in my heart that morning was real, and these words that express that gratitude are essential to me.

About Thanksgiving- Gratitude and Thanks

We can all sit around the table and laugh with family and friends on this holiday. Maybe the day holds a special meaning. A day of gratitude.

When you look back at your place in life on this day, you can see the milestones, challenges, and hurdle you have overcome to earn your spot at the table.

This year I’m able to spend the day quietly with my husband. During my run this morning I thought to have what I am grateful for in my life today.

Family: Eddie, Andrea, Chris, Brady, Natalie, Jan, Jesse, and Melissa

Close Friends: Jason, Bob, and Adam (BW)

My Pastor: Ryan Holiday

Mentors: Maria Mendez David Cross

Writing Mentors: Carol Tice, Adam Connell, Nick Usborne, and Bob Bly

Those I have had the chance to write for this year, Sober Escorts, Sobriety Home, Serenity Peaks, 881 Agency. Make a Living Writing and many others.

My readers, and other friends.

During my run this morning, I didn’t think of any of you. Sorry. I am grateful to have you all in my life, but the person I am thankful for the most today was a boy (RJH) I knew in knew in 90’s. He must’ve been 7 or 8 at the time. I was friends with his father, at one time in my life. Then his father went to prison. I helped the family the best I could while he was away, but I was fucked up on drugs still. So I’m not sure I helped at all. When RH was released from prison, he asked me to stay away because I was mentioned on his list of dangerous persons to avoid or be violated.

This man is no good for you and successful parole.

The gate slammed shut behind. I looked back, lit a cigarette, and flipped the camera off as I walked towards the NYS Thruway. It was two days before Thanksgiving, 5 o’clock in the afternoon, and a definite chill in the air. I had an old battered Champion pull-over hooded sweatshirt, jeans that were falling off my ass,-

It wasn’t the accepted style yet. I told myself it was my style so I could steal more natural, but the reality was I never ate because I liked the empty feeling in my stomach while gone on heroin-

And a big, bushy beard like Jim Morison right before he died.

The Thruway was about a 20-minute walk from the Schenectady County Jail which is in the center of downtown Schenectady. I had recently been there for 6 months for misdemeanor petty theft (boosting) shoplifting.  I stole to support my heroin addiction. My habit was out of control, the withdrawal was hell in the county, and I couldn’t wait to get back to Utica or NYC and sink a beautiful shot in my arm.

I got to the Thruway, decided Utica, and stuck my thumb out at the cars. After about 20 minutes of rides passing me by I was getting worried I’d be walking home. A car swerved into the lane to pick me up, stopped, and the door opened up.

The Ride to my Death

Johnny? Is that you under all that hippie hair? a voice yelled out to me

I ran to the car and pushed the seat forward and got it. I noticed several bags of Disney videos in the bag seats. I looked up to the front and two of my old crew that I lived, boosted and got high with were smiling back at me. “Divine, fucking, intervention!” I yelled at them. Lit up smoke and relaxed into the bag seat.

This was brilliant. Not only did I have a ride back to Utica. I was with 2 friends. Friends that would let me move back in, but more importantly, I would be in Utica, NY with a needle buried in my arm in about 60 minutes. All I could think was that the heroin Gods were smiling on me.

The Ride was uneventful. Pat pulled drove us to the Prince’s spot, Annie went in copped a bundle of dope stamped PrimeTime and came back out.

Back on Albany Street in Utica NY, in an apartment I knew too well I felt safe. The table was covered with needles and spoons, empty dope and crack bags. Cigarette butts put on on the table veneer. Yes, this was home.

Needle and spoon and addicted to dope

I pushed some of the detritus left from others that fixed up in this kitchen and got to work.

There were two people I didn’t know in the kitchen one looked at me and said that I shouldn’t do the whole bag. The shit was the bomb. It was killing junkies. I laughed and said, “Seriously? I do 10 bag shots.” I grabbed a needle from the table, a spoon with a used cotton in it. Ha, the cotton filters the dirt and grime from the shot. I didn’t care. It was the early 90’s none of us knew we were giving each other Hep C. I drew up some water that was in a cup.

“Man, c’mon don’t do the full bag. This is the dope that killed Elvis. I poured the whole bag in the spoon. Go ahead big shot, die, I don’t give a fuck.”

I worked up the shot, found a nice vein and suck the needle in my arm. Push. I felt the flame roaring up my back. Each little hair getting singed as my high started climbing. Damn this is good. My head was swimming. I felt the nod taking over. I looked at one of the guys sitting across from me and said something as I was falling to the floor.

Darkness.

I awoke to the sound of flashing lights and EMTS, trying to find a vein. Pumping me full of Narcan. “No. No No, I cried. I don’t want to come back to this life.” I was covered in blood. It was dark. I was in an alley. They must have thrown me outside before they called the cops. I was scared. I know I wouldn’t get arrested but did they?

Speeding through Utica to the emergency room. Once inside the doctors wouldn’t let me go. I had to stay the night for observation. I was still nodding out. Four shots of Narcan and the dope was climbing, again. Fuck, I felt so good.

All I wanted was to be left alone. Once in my room, the fear of my life set it. I curled into a ball and started to cry.

This was it. This is what I why I lived-Jails, institutions, and death. All night long I was in and out of the nod. I was scared. The first time in my life. I was afraid.  When the sun began to rise, I asked the nurse for clean clothes. I showered. She found me a sweatshirt, and that was all. I showered pulled the IV out of my arm and walked out the door.

At the exit RH and his son were walking in.  He was visiting his aunt. He told me I looked like shit and asked if he could get me a coffee. We drank coffee, and I told him the short version of my life since we stopped hanging out.

He asked where I was going. I told him I had no clue. His son that was with him said It’s Thanksgiving dad. Let’s bring him home. I felt like a stray dog he saw on the road, but I need to get out of the city. I was scared for my life. I knew what I’d do.

I wish I could say that this was a turning point in my life. But it was just an interruption to the pattern I’ve known for so long. My higher power stepped in, put a son and his father in my path. My higher power couldn’t let me handle too much more. Death seemed imminent.

I had a lovely Thanksgiving meal. When I sat down to write this yesterday morning, I was feeling grateful for life. For all of you, and then this memory came back like an out-of-control train. It struck me.

Why have I not thought about this moment in 20 years?  Some would say because I wasn’t ready to feel the pain again. I just think it’s because so much has happened that my brain’s cranking away cataloging my past.

It doesn’t matter why WHat matters is that. This interruption saved my life. It gave me a chance. I wasn’t ready to quit doing heroin at that moment in time, but I learned a valuable message. That even though I hated myself people still felt I was okay.

My higher power has walked every step of this journey. She has never put me in a situation I couldn’t handle. I’m still grateful today for that boy from my past and my Thanksgiving wish goes out to him and his family. I pray he is happy and safe.

Be safe this holiday season. Take the time to appreciate the little quirks of your family, the smells of your home, the feeling of love of family and friends. Cherish it and feel secure in your gratitude.