This is the last part in a series of articles on overcoming escapism by Brother Jason, a soldier in the Salvation Army. Jason doesn’t have a blog, but you should show him some love here in this shithole. If you’re joining late, you’ll want to read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.
Obviously……I didn’t jump, fall or drop off the Golden Gate…but even today, every January in California since then……..it’s always to this day been an uneasy month to realize how close I was. On the 10th anniversary of that fateful day…..I did actually weep a bit at home. Life went on.
What kept me from plunging to my death? A vision. Really. A vision. As I stood, barely balancing on the rail on the rail ready to go to my death…….I saw a man. He had sandals on. Was dressed in a tunic, a robe of sorts with a belt. He had long hair, a beard…….and the most serene dark eyes I had ever seen. He was standing about ten feet away from me. His eyes had such deep pity for me. Real pity. As if he could feel everything I had been through for my whole adult life. All he did was beckon me to come to him. He didn’t speak. He didn’t slip me the answer. He didn’t tell me “I had so much to live for” and he didn’t make any defensive moves to save me from falling.
He beckoned again. I jumped off the rail back on to the walkway and smacked down hard on to the pavement. I looked up and he was was gone. I suddenly felt very sick again……..I started puking again. I passed out.
I awoke in a bedroom. I immediately knew it was a hospital or sorts. A nurse smiled at me and said gently “hey…..you’re awake. you took quite a spill…a passing car saw you passed out on the Golden Gate Bridge. They called the police. They found a dogtag on you, around your neck; assumed you were a veteran and brought you here….you’re at the veterans hospital here in San Francisco. You’re safe now.” (the dogtag was my grandfathers from WW II) “Mr. Jones???” She said cautioiusly….I just shook my head and said “that was my grandfather….”
“You’ve been out cold for almost 48 hours……you detoxed bad, you’re still detoxing we have you on sedatives…….” I then noticed the restraints on my arms and legs.
Once the formalities were cleared up, of who I was………I was introduced to a man from Narcotics Anonymous. It was then I decided that life may not be worth living, but I was going to finish it up the proper way. I also promised “god” that I would never drink and drug again. It would ber a few more years before I became a practicing Christian.
I stayed sober and clean for the fact that I almost tasted death. My life did not suddenly become “easy” after getting sober……in fact for a few years…..it got worsre. All the nonsense I had let go over the years came back. All at once. ALso confessing to my parents that their “bright and promising son” had in fact been using drugs since 1989. The people I hurt, stole from, let down, lied to over the past decade with a clear mind suddenly washed over me hard. I also lost my mother to undected cancer a few years after getting cleaned up. She was only 62. A woman who never smoked, drank and was not by any measure a typical “wimmen” you see clogging the streets, church and Internet today.
I stayed sober and clean for the fact that I had made a “promise” to the “big guy upstairs” and I figured for once I was going to keep a promise…….had not kept one to anybody for a very long time. It wasn’t easy, but it gets easier now…..I do owe a debt of gratitude to Narcotics Anonymous. It really helped me at first…especially in the first year. Jokes about “AA” programs and people aside; all this support group does is to help people who don’t want to use anymore to be encouraged, listened to, understood. I’ve been involved in very heated meetings, cried a lot, argued and laughed too. I am grateful. I am also grateful for the people I saw when I first came. All colors. All walks of life. Old and young. Rich and poor. Clean for 24 hours, clean for 25 years. Drug addiction is an ironic equalizer in our culture.
No, I never relapsed but have been temped more than a few times.
Yes, I did eventually become a Christian…and the man I saw that night on the Golden Gate Bridge???? I am convinced it was indeed the Savior of us all. Jesus Christ.
Here is a video of Fiona Apple, she looked like this when I partied with her. Her song “first taste” probably from 1999 or thereabouts