The Face of Addiction~


Today I came face to face with addiction in a way I could no longer ignore.

I could not just mute out the beggar on the train.

I could no longer walk by the homeless woman on the church steps.

I could no longer walk by the woman sitting on the ground with a sign reading “I’m hungry!”

I could no longer switch trains to avoid the smell of someone who does not have access to bathrooms and showers.

I was surrounded by the faces of addiction in front of me, besides me, behind me and all around me.

I woke up early today, planned my day, and met the deadline for submitting my lessons for work. I wrote my blog, meditated and tended to my altar. My vow and intention for today was to capture the smiles of those around me. A beautiful intention. My day started off amazingly.

Then I left for work…

The experience and today’s observation took place at the check cashing store. When I walked in the line was longer than usual. It was payday, welfare day, and bill pay day. And like everyone in line it was my day to pay.

There were over 20 people in line and not a smile in sight. Some were frustrated. They were in a rush and just wanted their cash and to leave.

There was a guy trying to hustle some of the older women out of their money offering them help paying their bills.  An obvious liar. The man behind me who was figiting, twitching, and yelling “NEXT” to people who were not done handling their business urging them to move faster because he believed he was in the line for several hours when in reality only 20 minutes had passed. The guy in front of him almost knocked him out.

But it was the group in front of me that really left it’s mark. A mother and son both high on drugs… violently aggressive with everyone in the place. The son made it a point to announce that “anyone in this joint try to get near my mom’s purse I will go to jail today!” Only matched by the mom’s “I will kick their asses I’m from Brooklyn!” This woman entered in a wheelchair.

The thoughts that came to me as I was waiting were:

I felt disgust.
I didn’t want to touch anyone or anything.
I couldn’t wait to wash my hands.
Silently I said to myself, “I will never come back here.”

It was too much. I wanted to escape. I wanted to pretend that they did not effect me.

In my own little world I don’t have to see the addiction that abounds.

I paid my rent and left praying for a (4) train and to never see them again. As I sat on the train the conductor announces, “due to a police incident at 138th Street this will be our last stop.” Forcing me to leave the subway and face the faces.
Here is where I am…

A mother and son both addicted.

How do we hold this pain?

How do we heal from it?

Day 9
Today I am grateful for smiles… the beautiful smiles I will walk by and the exchanges I will have today.

Today I am grateful for LOVE SONGS… beautiful lyrics. “WHENEVER I’M ALONE WITH YOU….”

Today I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had to speak at universities all across the United States.

Today I am grateful for creativity I slowly feel you coming back and it feels so good.

Today I am grateful for new beginnings.


Today I tag the five I’m grateful for: leiry, dorisol, jay, Bianca, ysanet

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