Then All Hell Broke Loose: The Year of Steel


A year ago yesterday I had everything – or so I thought. I had a 1400 sq. foot studio, was doing the best art of my life – had my art, Rod Swenson’s art and plenty of room on the walls for new art on the walls. I seemed stable, was losing weight. I was in love with the red-headed bombshell and we had made passionate love a week earlier like there was no tomorrow.

That turned out to be true – there was no tomorrow.

And there needed to be.

I will forever be grateful to her for helping save my life, for seeing me lovingly through the rough waters of transition from discovering my mental illness through the year or two it takes to adjust to life on the right meds and without self-medicating with alcohol. It’s a whole new life and even as fast as I am at adjusting it was going to take SOME time.

But not too much. It was becoming co-dependent – or had with no ill-intent at all. Everyone meant well. Everyone loved so very much. It had to break apart and it had to be permanent.


While we are here I wanna clarify something for everyone. people think God is a killjoy when it comes to sex. Naw. He created all those amazing nerve endings and even some organs that only provide pleasure. So dispell that notion.

But a wise friend of mine once advised me against intimacy prior to marriage saying “if you break up later it will only hurt 1,000 times more.”

True that. Fuck it hurts so much more.

I mean unless you are one of “those guys,” which I have never been.

No, next time (this time) I wait. It’s to protect me from hurt. You wanna go off and eat a buzzsaw? Go ahead. I’m done.


March 13, 2014 began perhaps the hardest year of all for me: The Year of Steel.

In one day I lost it all. This was not new. I have had that happen maybe four major times. Still a shock to the system it does get easier. But it ushers in old companions for a short time. I don’t crave alcohol at all – but it can be triggered.

The woman upstairs broker her lease, that broke my lease – the women I rent from went cannibalistic/militant – I got triggered big0time (I had cut my meds in half too to lose weight – BAD MOVE) – I drank – The vortex started -Add mega paranoia by others and fuckage…lies, falsifications (including actual forged documents – I shit you not…wow..that was a first)…and I go from being a good guy to Charles Manson’s twin in a day.

I wake up a few days later at “The Hitchin Post.” I am not made of steel. I am a broken-hearted man, alone – made of raw nerve endings dipped in fear.

I was tested in every way possible the next twelve months – alone. Haha – I was even bitten by a poisonous spider – haha. I was cheated, berated, my stuff lost in LA – I cannot even begin to tell you the adventures NOT recorded in Sansadobe.

The year ended with me in the hospital after all my hard work of pushing through PTSD and Homelessness in Santa Cruz in a somewhat record 43 days.

But by then I was a tough son of a bitch. You were gonna have to kill me to stop me. So when I woke up in that bed I called on my family and went to Carmel and pulled it together, got counsel (good counsel) and re-ordered my world.

I had developed a core of steel over the year. Not built from defiance, or anger or even a twinge of bitterness. This was built on and in faith. I chose to come to Oakland with no fear at all even though it meant Homelessness. I chose to look for my mate – another Jedi – because I knew I would find her here – and I knew that I needed to find her while I was NOT successful (anyone will love me later).

So much of life is a matter of the head and heart and I watch the men and women around me struggle with this. Oh yeah – the Homeless do too.

Laura – my girl – and I are not in a co-dependent relationship. She is a co-warrior alongside me. I do not need her help (except prayer). She notes my steel and is drawn to it. Those who knew me a year ago would scarcely recognize me. I am still every bit as sweet (maybe even sweeter and more patient). But I have a core that is steely and utterly direct.

I leave St. Mary’s tomorrow morning for Marin. I will be staying at Mill Street the next month while I continue to pursue work. I have been sick pretty much the whole time I have been at St. Marys (actually allergic – there is a mold problem). I have not allowed this to slow me but maybe one day the whole time). I am first one up and last to bed usually.

This morning the staff worker berated the whole crowd of us for some of the guys getting up before six a.m. and cleaning up their stuff quietly.

“It’s not like you have anywhere to any of you have JOBS!” she yelled.

No need to waste energy on a response to her.

I work every day very day as hard as I did as an executive, or when I ran – maybe harder. I have a job – It’s called life.

Over the year many of your may have noted a decided change in my tone and in my overt references to God. I make no apologies. I have deepened – and I was no slouch before.

I still hate religion and feel that it is marked by everything counter to Gospel: coercion, fear, greed and the attempt to take away freedom. It is contrary to faith, hope and love. Therefore it is anti-God.

But I would be remiss if I did not openly state that the steel which has formed within me is a direct result of deeper time and devotion to the Risen One – to Jesus who I experience as alive. I realize many of you do not. It is never a judgment with me. I share my experience – and that is all it is. He is my anchor.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mary harrison jones
    Mar 13, 2015 @ 19:28:37



    • Mac
      Mar 13, 2015 @ 20:12:11

      Thanks for the comment Mary.I did not know you had been at Mill Street. I have friends there. It was where I first started really. So scared and everything new. If you have to land somewhere Homeless Marin is pretty amazing with Ritter House, the Catholic kitchen and charities, Mill Street, the free shuttle up to the County services – I dunno what I will find and in some ways I don’t much care as I do not forsee Hoemeless evebn in my medium-range future. I am coming to escape beung allergy-sick in Oakland and to continue ,my aggrsive campaign for a great job and a new life and ministry (on my own dime) in the Bay Area. If you are in town I am certain will will bump into each other downtown at lunch!!


  2. chrisbscott25
    Mar 13, 2015 @ 19:41:10

    Prayers on you as the journey continues!


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