A long, warm embrace and I said “Come back again, Jon, you’re always welcome here.”
Not an hour ago, Jon had mustered the courage to come to my door and knock. There was a part of him, I know, that hoped nobody would answer.
Nobody ever knocks on my door. I rarely have a visitor anymore, so when I hear a knock or a doorbell, I know it must be either Publisher’s Clearinghouse or bad news. Today it was different.
I could see it on his face, too, as I opened the door to find him standing there. He later said he didn’t know if I still lived here but had been in the neighborhood many times before but didn’t know if he was in a safe-enough place yet to take the risk of seeing me again. After all, our last encounter was not very pleasant.
Jon was a friend from my days of dealing drugs and partying. We spent a lot of time together and I recall that despite our last encounter when he was still using and I was sober over a year, he was one of a handful of friends in the drug circles who had that je ne sais quoi. I knew that under that always high, drug injecting, self-centered man was a quality person who would, with any luck and before it was too late, emerge and be redeemed as I was.
Jon is three months clean. His distance from his last use, however, doesn’t match with the sobriety level he exhibits. His level of insight far exceeds most at his stage of recovery.
He came in. We talked for an hour. He explained how the paranoia from his prolonged drug use had caught up with him finally. Laying on his bedroom floor with .45 in hand, he was destined either to kill the invisible intruders of his paranoia or himself that night.
Finally, ready to escape the nightmare, he said he’d knocked on the door at his mother’s house and admitted he needed help. He moved in that night and has been off drugs since.
I’m honored that he took the risk of knocking on my door this morning, one he’d knocked on countless times before with a much different agenda.
I think we’ll be close friends once again, bound together now by an adhesive much stronger than drugs ever were.