An Addict and An Angel
I had been sitting there for a couple hours. Minding my own business. Interested in talking to no one. Interested in only one thing. Winning. Or maybe it was losing. Either way, I didn't go there to strike up a conversation with a stranger.
And so when he sat down on the stool next to me and said something like, "God is looking out for you," I thought to myself, "Oh dear God, please make this man go away."
He kept talking for a few minutes and I pretended to be somewhat interested all the while keeping my focus on what was directly in front of me. I don't remember our conversation, if that's what you could even really call it. I do remember how I felt when I heard the words he said just before he got up, gave me his business card and walked away.
"When you're ready to get help, you can always call me."
I felt like I had just been sucker-punched. Like I had just fallen from the branch of a very tall tree onto my back and couldn't breathe. Like I'd been caught stealing something that wasn't mine. Like he'd seen right through me even though I had never looked him in the eye.
I'd been quietly found out and called out by a stranger. A stranger who tried his best to just sit with me, have a chat and offer some compassion and support. And I, I was too interested in my own game to see, let alone care what he was really wanting to do which was to help me.
I've never forgotten the angel who appeared as a kind man in a bar many years ago. If I could meet up with him again now, I'd simply tell him thank you. Sometimes an addict doesn't know they're an addict until someone has the courage to speak it out loud to them.
He knew who I was before I did. I am forever grateful to him for gently telling me the truth long before I admitted it to myself.