A Year of Sobriety and that Homeless Inspired Christmas Song
One Day at a Time because that's all we've got!
Tomorrow Christopher will be one year off the streets and a year clean.
To recap a few things, on December 20, 2021, Christopher’s mother picked him up off the streets of Los Angeles*. He was incapacitated - could not walk, could hardly speak, and was skeletally thin.
* This is the 2nd time I believe his mother had saved his life. Both times I had reached my emotional end.
In that year there have been surgeries - both his heart and his back - as well as medications and appointments for days. If you need a refresher on what has occurred, let me bring you up to speed with some previous posts.
Addict Son, Addict Family
Chris was still in the hospital, getting ready for a heart valve replacement
Buying Fentanyl: A Beginner’s Guide
Where I regale you with the merriment of the first time I bought fentanyl and perhaps we talk about bad policy and good doctors.
207 Days Clean: Nothingness & Spongebob
Nothingness is a pretty lonely place to be. Spongebob nails it.
And now you are up to speed.
I’m not sure what I’m sharing here, except to say Christopher is in a different place. The past month or two have been especially interesting. He had his long-awaited back surgery and is on the mend. Physically it is a lot. Emotionally, it is more.
We started walking around the block and our first time, Chris barely made it. He was exhausted and said his legs felt like he couldn’t lift them. He sat down on the chair in his room and started weeping! Ugh.. it is not easy!
Fast-forward a few weeks, he does the same loop 3 to 4 times at a time and does that a couple times a day. This is encouraging to both of us.
He also invited me in to his 1-on-1 counseling. That was enlightening. We discussed many things that I don’t need to share here. However, the first topic was Christopher outlining that he wants me to be able to give input without him having emotional push-back. We also discussed how I want him to understand that, while he is my child, he is an adult. I want to give him that respect and interact with him as such.
It is easy to fall into old roles - me trying to fix him, him pushing back for the sake of independence. We both have work to do in this area but it feels like we understand that.
Deb and I visited Humboldt a couple weeks ago. We got to spend time with my youngest and my son-in-law, celebrate my birthday, and run around the Redwoods over a rainy few days.
The Punk is a term of endearment related to her love of (and introducing me to) Pop Punk (Fall Out Boy & Panic! at the Disco)
I don’t mind the rain. It was a good weekend for Deb and I to get away.
We were going to have Christopher stay with mom but he told me that he wanted to help with the dogs and stay at home. He wanted some independence and also to take on some responsibility.
So, we left him at home for a few days. Alone!
Nothing made me think he would use while we were gone. However, the thought crossed my mind. Not in a fear/anxiousness way but in a, “if it was going to happen, I suppose these few days could be it.”
Things went great! He stayed in touch and we returned to a clean house and a clean addict. Deb is a little annoyed because, since then, Beaux keeps wanting to sleep in Christopher’s room at night. Deb has claimed ownership of my pup over the past few years. I’ll let the three of them work that out.
Chris did express feeling anxious being alone. However, as we discussed it, it wasn’t the being alone that bothered him. Being alone caused him to think about his desire to have his life in a better place. Primarily it made him think he wants a job NOW!!!
I suppose that is a worthwhile thing to have some consternation about. But, given the work he is doing, he’ll get there.
I don’t think I have a lot more to add. Our family has a few big events going on right now. We may or may not share after the first of the year. So… I guess the song is next.
That Christmas Song I Wrote
Back in 2019, I started looking for Christopher. It took a month or two to track him down in a homeless encampment near Koreatown. Over the next couple years we were out there a lot. Trying not to lecture - just trying to stay in touch.
That first Christmas we were visiting his community. I was struck by the dichotomy of cars on the freeway over the encampment, specifically seeing a couple Amazon delivery trucks, and the fragile people below them. Mostly overlooked except as a nuisance to people who hate the filth and would rather not be bothered with the people.
I understand that by the way. Having spent enough time in that community, I find the homeless often frustrating, annoying, and dirty. However, they are human beings… and that is often forgotten.
I saw a mother and her child, living in a tent, and I wrote this line:
There's a baby, there's a mother
There's the freeway they're living under
Carries that same day package delivery
For all that, "I've been good, what will it get me?’
And that became the impetus for Christmas Heart. It isn’t much of a White Christmas classic but it has its own broken charm, in my humble opinion.
I shared it with Emiko, a friend and fellow performer, and she said she wanted to record it with me. She’s an ace on the piano and Hammond Organ. So.. she recorded some keys and vocals.
I keep saying I need to re-record and mix this. But, upon listening this morning, I believe it gets the job done in a pinch.
I hope you enjoy and consider sharing with 1,000,000 of your closest friends.
Okay - with that said, I’m not embedding two new songs I posted but I will provide the links.
Long Way Home (a Tom Waits cover)
I’m in a bit of a Tom Waits re-discovery/fascination. I’m learning four of his songs to include when I start playing out live (yep, that’s happening) next year.
One of my favorite songs to play with my band. But it works acoustically as well.
If you haven’t done so already, subscribe to my YouTube channel; all the cool kids are doing it!
If we don’t talk before then, have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Blessed Samhain, Wonderful Wicked Week of Whatever, etc. It’s all good. Just find a moment when you can smile.
December 19, 2022