Friday, April 18, 2008

Stopping the Syndrome

AT the Central Library on this Sunday afternoon. I was a bit down this morning but I worked my way through it. IT is an interesting phase for me down here.

I finally finished some things that have been on my mind for almost two years. You know all about it. We are talking about the real estate license and other administrative matters.

Indeed that is a good thing. I do not have to worry about if I can get those things done. They are done. If the Department of Real Estate renews my license, then other doors can open up for me.

Ah, there in lies the challenge. I want doors to open for me. Things are changing as I do have a job. I do not have to worry about eating and sleeping. I now have the luxury of planning. I trade one anxiety for another.

I was concerned about sinking in quicksand. Now I am concerned about climbing the ladder.

My relationship with myself has changed. I am learning new things. I am considering new things. I guess that is what this phase is about. Some people applaud my work, others hold me in disdain.

I called a lady in Philadelphia and apologized to her for lying to her years ago. She sent me money to do some things and instead I used it for cocaine. I have wanted to talk to her for years and it is now done.

I am talking on a regular basis with people that I did not talk to on the phone a month ago. It feels good. My circle is widening.

I went to my 19th class on Friday--the court ordered class that I must attend. I have 33 more to go. At first I thought I would never leave Skid Row until those classes were finished. Now I realize that I can pay for them and if I get an opportunity, I can leave and return on Friday.

AFter the 33 classes are finished, I can leave. I am networking. I am exploring things.

A few months ago, I did not feel I could do anything. I am glad I do not feel that way any longer.

I just realize that this process is slow. It took some work to get where I am. I have more work to do.

I wonder how many people on Skid Row are in this position. I wonder how many people just found a job and now are planning to make a major move in their lives.

I wonder how many people desire to get back with their families. I wonder if they are closer now than they were last year.

I wonder if I will progress more this week. There are so many areas that need to be
examined. So many things to resolve. So many doors to open. So many doors that cant be opened until certain doors are closed. I also have to make sure that I identify all of the appropriate doors that need attention.
It is Monday now. I am sitting at Chrysalis. I wrote some old class mates with whom I was close. I want to connect. I need that feeling. I am not so sure it is a result of this experience as much as it is a natural progression in finding what I need as a result of neglecting certain things when I was using drugs.

Of course one used drugs to fill a void. The more that void deepened the more one used drugs. ONe uses drugs because the void deepens.
A vicious cycle. Now that I am not on that cycle I have to figure out how to fill the void. I am not home. I do not swim any more. I have to find the things
and do them that bring pleasure.

I do intend to start swimming. When I do not know. I have some things to do before
I can start that program.

Yesterday and this morning I was approached by some counselors from one of the programs that I have come in contact with since I have been down here on Skid Row.
If you recall I stated that I am changing and my role on Skid Row as well. This one is a new one.

A man has disappeared. It is not uncommon. Happens all of the time. This man has been working at a restaurant for some time and he missed his first day of work. He did not call. He is not living were they thought he would be.

The counselor this morning pulled me aside and asked me to track him down. He feels that he can share some conifdential information with me. He also has confidence in my ability to find out information.

He looked nervous. Worried. You could see that he did not want to hear any bad news. This man is at that point where he could relapse. I talked about the phenomenon the other day. The concept of Normal. It is normal for this man not to experience successs. The more he experiences it, the more he is distancing himself from what he knows as normal. he may not even recognize it.

He may sabotage himself. One of the colleagues of this counselor and I talked for a long time on Saturday and Sunday about this concept. They have noticed a pattern-a pattern that I have talked about. It is like being a crab and climbing to the top and then you fall backware. You can fall by your own doing or fall from the assistance from another crab that does not want you to succeed.

This staff of the program is sharp enough to recognize that syndrome and they are searching for ways to fix it. It will take work because some of the problems are outside of the scope of their program. However ffor people to succeed who are in their program, they must find a way for people to get past certain benchmarks.

We all have benchmarks to get through. I am trying to get through some and Identify others to anticipate what is ahead of me.

I think many things are ahead for the people who are in these programs in Skid Row. I am finding out more as I go along. Skid Row, itself is facing alot of things.

Someone said to me that I am no longer interested in what happens to the community now that I have a job. Non sense. The fact is, I must figure out where I am and find my equilibrium before I can be of any assistance. Time to gather little stories or take pictures is limited. I must make my adjustments.

In my freshman year in college, I would stop what I was doing to do something else to please people. I would get distacted and that started a string of incompletes in my academic career. Indeed, I was one step away from graduating and then walked away. I did not think I was walking away but the final result was that I did.

Now that I have a job. Now that I am no longer on drugs, I am thinking about where I can go. what I can do. I also want to finish school. I think that is the one thing that has caused me pain. I never finished what I started. It started hole inside of me. It was caused by drugs and exascerbated by drug use.

I stopped using drugs. I never started even when all of this happened to me. I survived the syndrome that so many experience and revert back to. I must find my way to accomplish goals.

As you can see, my conversation is different. I did not feel I could even set goals let alone accomplish them a six months ago.

But I am communicating and reaching out. As each goes on, I am not going further away from what I know is normal. I am getting closer to what I know is normal.

I must admit that I went through that syndrome when I was decreasing my drug use. I was uncomfortable with it. It took time to get used to it. I lengthened the time between puffs os cocaine. I monitored every feeling.

HOpefully I can find this man that is missing on Skid Row and impart to him some of the things that I learned. You ask why the concern on the part of the counselors?

It is because recently one of their clients was murdered having reverted to an old way of life. They do not want that to occur again. I am glad they are that devoted to their clients from Skid Row.

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