The Monk Hangs Up His Habit

Gregory sleep at the gates of the Pittsburg BART station at 4:30 a.m. I later took him to breakfast after a long walk in the dark. I myself, had slept in the long coat behind some excellent shrubbery.

“I started reading[Sansadobe] because it was such a stark mixture of honesty and humanity interspersed with an often stunning cluelesness” ~A loyal reader.

It’s over. Last post. I have been homeless for a year and I have found out what I needed to find out probably the only way possible. Maybe not for you, but for me. (You might wanna put on the soundtrack to Crazy Heart while reading)

I have seen things you would never believe, experienced terrors I can still not describe, joys beyond measure and some of the most amazing friends have joined me on this utterly insane journey. The above quote really does pretty much sum it up.

I have been as utterly honest and vulnerable as I know how…which is considerable. I have also, at times been utterly deluded, completely self-absorbed, pre-suicidal (just one night) and often either hospitalized (at least six times I remember) or in some of the best health of my life.

I have seen a whole huge population of this country up close and lived as a simple member of “them”. I like them. I love them. I will always be a part of them now.

Clearing Some things Up

City Team and Portland.

Actually we start with Union Gospel Mission, which is a four-year CULT. After a month I fled to City Team where I lived like a monk for seven months.

City Team means well and does well. They gave me the gift of six months total sobriety and better still PROVED that if you actually work the 12 Steps of AA you can have a daily reprieve from addiction to alcohol or drugs. That is, if your only issue is addiction.

Beyond that they are clueless and seriously in denial about the very real health issues both of the homeless and of addicts.

Clueless. Their success rate (by their standards) while I was there was maybe 10%. I’m sure they count me a failure (fine by me). They did me fine despite being threatened three times, denied doctor-ordered care for a month and denying me meds they should have known full well were necessary.

Let’s get this one thing over with: Roger. The acting/working director is bi-polar, just as I am. He had no qualms about denying me my bi-polar meds (at a cost of maybe $100 month) but he would not attempt to run the minstry for three days without his. He also put me at peril by denying me doctor ordered rest when I had pneumonia and then bronchitis or a MONTH.

Here is the deal with Rog. In my mind he should have an honorary doctorate for his deft knowledge on Recovery and addiction. Truly genius. But when it comes to any medial issue he is like a Jr. High school gym teacher whose solution to leukemia is to order you to”take a lap”.

He is that clueless. I was coughing up blood and in agony and they said if I didn’t “man up” I would have to leave once I recovered.

Does that make any sense to anyone?

(Hey…I am brilliant in some areas too and utterly clueless myself in others, no?)

They need a medical doctor volunteering to come in once a week and they need to OBEY him to the letter.

I Left Too Early

The Good side: I experienced that AA can “work if you work it”. Prior to City Team I had attended meetings. It is utterly different to actually work the program.

Bad side:  I was gonna have to deal with the other half of my problem (bi-polar 2) eventually.

Had they also enrolled me in a “Dual Diagnosis” program and kept me on my meds? Totally different result. Didn’t happen. Was not going to happen except by crashing.

I would not wish such a “crash” on my worst enemy (if I had one, which I do not).

Ever have a 20 minute panic attack? Try a six-hour version in a city where you are suddenly alone, wet, cold and without resources because you “failed” one day.

Thank God for my mother allowing me to come to Eugene for a period of time and then for ALL the myriad of people who in concert (but unknown to each other) helped me get back here to Marin where I am safe, in AA, headed to a dual diagnosis program and, after 18 straight days, the depakote has finally laced itself into my biochemistry so that it is a part of my working general neuro-chemistry (it takes that long).

I FEEL different and I am THINKING different.

And it is warmer here the “Long Coat” has about given up the ghost. It is like an old dog you probably should “put down” but cannot bear the thought of actually doing so.

Monk-dom and Service

Anyone who knows me knows I use to have a problem not just with alcohol, but also with women. I needed them to like me.

I cannot remember the last time I touched a woman or one touched me in any meaningful way. I have lived utterly celibate not just in body but also in mind (I kid you not. I have not even fantasized). I wanted to learn what it was like to live on the love of God and I was amazed. I have never felt such love before and no women past, present or future will ever be able to match it because they were never supposed to!

It has been wonderful to be free of the love of woman (in that sense). To not have to alter myself or try and impress or even flirt.

I was tempted once in Portland (just to flirt) because the woman in question is so beautiful in mind, heart and well…pretty much everything. And I admire her. So after attending a class she lead (and now she  knows it is her because she reads this and we are friends…but she also understands that “purity of heart is to will one thing”..hehe) I was walking back to the Mission and I stopped still in my tracks at the first selfish hint and prayed “Lord…make my heart utterly pure and good towards (unnamed) so that only good comes from knowing me and vice-versa.” And my heart took that nice little turn towards gift-love and stayed there.

Saaaaweeeetah.

I gave her a gift before I left that was very meaningful to me to make and she received it in the same innocence.

So sweet time communing with God and a freedom I had not yet known.

What I Miss and Regret

I deeply miss Robert the Gangl (my Patowan) , Jesse Hebner, his brother Joel (I called him “Wan” because I was “Schech-“) and also Colin (and oddly Tim…who sort of sneaks up on your heart) . Then Kasey from the Imago Dei Kierkegaard class.

But Robert doesn’t know yet we are not nearly done (Jesse does, as does, I suspect Tyler and Jared). I think it just because I really hurt him by leaving.

That’s it….oh and my glasses (I am still walking around blind).

I regret not FORCING the issue with City Team management on medical issues not only for myself but others. Others will suffer because I lacked courage.

What I Do Not Regret

I never lied. Not even once. I served with heart, faith and no small amount of daily effort or sacrifice and I LOVED the honor of doing so.

So now I am done. I could tell you about my horrendous 15 hour day today that started on 3 hours clseep and almost ended in my NOT getting my meds.

People were better for knowing me there. I am better for knowing so many of them and I am better being here where I can address my WHOLE situation in a totally healthy, open and grace-filled way.

New church (St. John’s Episcopal), soon new digs, new jobs. I will not be homeless much longer which is why I am stopping this blog.

I’m done. Time to move on into new territory where I a not the center of my own attention.

You have all been a lovely audience. You can still read me here and there on things way outside of ME at blogs I will list tomorrow. I am tired. God is good. he has gifted me with a new start, an almost superhuman ability to recover rapidly for savagely physical attacks and infirmities (a week ago I was half dead…now I am walking 5-7 miles a day easy, and sometimes it has been with full bags…unreal. Detox is usually 7-21 days. I was out after four). I cannot take credit for any of it..not even my own willingness to continue on.

Goodnight Sweet Ones.

Dinner by Whole Foods...Curry chicken, brie, chutney and fresh blueberrie sandwich, Acai smoothie, crab salad. I may be broke (utterly...but I have food stamps as of today...)

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