THE CHAMPION OF MY SUCCESS - Part II

Champion Of My Success - Part II

Champion of My Success

My wife began to question my mood swings and erratic behavior. I, of course, would blow everything all out of proportion in a futile attempt to cover up my stupidity.

My wife, Valerie, had two brothers who died from drug overdoses a few years before I met her. Her oldest brother, Jesse, died in her arms as she tried to revive him. She never talk of that day, I heard it from her sister Evangeline. Eva was with her when Jesse died.

Valerie was suppose to go with Jesse back to rehab that morning, so when he didn't answer his phone she assumed that he changed his mind. That was not an option as far as she was concerned. She had invested too much time, money, sweat and tears into him that summer to let him get away with ruining his life. He was going to get help whether he wanted it or not. When she and Eva got to his apartment they spent three minutes banging on the door, drawing curious neighbors into the hall, when Valerie recognized the smell. It was an unmistakable odor of drugs and sweat mixed as the body tries to rid itself of the poison. A smell she would never forget.

Calvin, Jesse's friend and neighbor, kicked the door in and rushed to the bedroom with Val and Eva close behind. Jesse was laying in bed fully dressed, shoes and all, with his arms at his side, barely breathing. Val rushed to his side checking for a pulse, calling his name, Jesse! Jesse! Wake up, as she held him in her arms. He gathered what little strength he had left and gave her one last smile, squeezed her hand and gave up the ghost.

The smell of drug addiction would prove to be a lingering legacy from that time in her life.

We were leaving Church one Sunday afternoon, and as is the custom of the Pastor, he stood at the front door to speak to everyone as we were leaving. As Val and I passed through the door and shook the Pastors' hand he guided me aside and asked if we could join him and the first lady for dinner. This wasn't unusual; he did this every Sunday with different members of the Church. Before I could reply Val blurted out, "Oh honey, I am hungry, can we"? How could I refuse? "Yes of course", I said; smiling and pretending.

I really wanted to drop the wife and kids off at home so I could go and get some drugs.

During dinner the Pastor began talking about his past life and how far he had come. He spoke of one thing in particular that struck home with me; drug addiction. Pastor Hewitt had overcome a 20 year addiction to heroin and cocaine. I began to get paranoid, as is the custom of addicts. Did he notice anything about me that told of my drug use? Was I nodding during the sermon? I was guilty of that once before. Val gave me a hard shove and woke me out of my stupor. I just told her I was tired from working. I'm just being paranoid, they don't know anything. I was so off into my own thoughts and paranoia I hadn't heard a word the Pastor had said, until he said, "an addict always know another addict if they see them enough". I was stunned, and speechless. He can see me.

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