I am 45 years old now. I am soft in the middle. I own a home in the San Francisco Bay Area (the bank owns most of it). I have three children. I racked up a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and an addiction studied credential. I have almost as much in retirement accounts as I do student loan debt. I have traveled to Canada, Mexico, Europe, and across the US. I wrote a book then another. I have tried every drug I could get my hands on. I have had my share of lovers, lost many friends. In fact, I have lived 15 years past my expiration date.
When I was using drugs, the Sex Pistols reminded me there was "No Future". There was no future for a person like me. I hated the world. I hated the establishment. Most of all, I hated myself. I am not sure how I went from a loving, confident child to an anxious teen full of self- loathing. Incrementally, I changed into a person that was afraid of the world. I was afraid of my reactions. I got into drugs and alcohol because it was that or suicide. The solution later became my problem.
I survived the Era of AIDS, attempts on my life, 34 abscesses, living on the streets, overdoses, and other forms of violence. That chapter of my life ended in handcuffs. It started when I decided to turn my life around. I was twitching and sweating on a plastic mattress on the floor of the county jail. They gave me a plastic bag to collect my vomit. I wanted to put it over my head, to suffocate everything I was feeling- everything I knew I would feel if I quit drugs. I did it. I stayed clean ever since. 17 long years.
I worry about you all, my friends. I see you all as the lost generation. 126 people dying everyday for opioid overdoses. Is it more now? The number changes every day. 126 lives lost to these drugs. A family that is now torn apart. Friends spiraling into a tidal pool of grief. A community will lose it's greatest resource, a young person full of ideas.
I fear for you. I fear for your safety. Every day, another person dead. Some days, there are two that I know. What must you all be thinking? What are you feeling, knowing that could be you? How many lives have you lost?
How long will people sit around and watch people die before they decide enough is enough? I wonder if we will have a whole generation lost.