One odd aspect of the past four years is: How like the behavior of an-addict-in-withdrawal the behavior of “The Swamp” has been, after the moment the people of the United States said they were sick of being “enablers”, and wanted “The Swamp” gone.

In case you are wondering, all the people of the United States, even those in rural areas, know far more about addiction and being “enablers” than they ever wanted to know. You might even say we have become experts, against our will.

Some (like myself) “experimented” with drugs in 1969 and saw the “experiment” turn horrid, and only escaped a clawing beast through extreme efforts, and the Grace of God. Others (like those who knew me) trusted me and became “enablers” because they trusted someone (me) who was lying through his teeth. But eventually “enablers” wake up, and confront the addict with so-called “tough love.” They basically tell the addict they are not going to put up with their bullshit any more.

I went through this experience as a teenager, fifty years ago, and felt I had been “saved”, and that the bullshit was over and done with. I thought it was in the past. It wasn’t.

In 1972 I felt I could could convince my fellow hippies drugs were bad, but they wouldn’t listen. Then I tried to convince fellow poets, but they wouldn’t listen. Then I tried to convince my daughter’s boyfriends, but they wouldn’t listen. My failure is brought home by the legalization of marijuana, the use of which is self-destructive.

For those of you who want to argue, I am preparing a post which will make mincemeat of your stupid, simplistic logic with irrefutable evidence marijuana does undeniable harm. My evidence will reveal to you that your infantile logic has hurt teenagers terribly, and you are not going to escape punishment in hell, unless you shape up your act, and do so damn fast. But I digress.

The point of this particular post is that the United States has been forced to learn about drugs. Millions of children have experienced drugs, simply because they are disobedient in classrooms, even at age five. Currently drugs are the most common form of death among youth under the age of nineteen. The problem is huge.

Because I, as a Childcare Provider, have seen children as young as age five hurt by “helpful” drugs, and have seen daughter’s boyfriends (and my daughters like only the best), made stupid by drugs, I am no fan of drugs. I am about as anti-drug as you can get (with the exceptions of the drugs coffee, nicotine and beer; they are bad for you physically, emotionally, and mentally; but do not cause the spiritual harm other drugs do.)

How dare I? How dare I state a marijuana cigarette harms the spirit and a tobacco cigarette does not?

Only a fool asks that question, for the evidence is obvious, but I shall answer that question in my forthcoming essay. The answer will shatter the fools. But, for now, I’ll just state fools just ask me that question because they are trying to distract this essay from it’s conclusion.

And the conclusion is? The United States knows all about addiction, and about all the ploys addiction uses to keep the enablers enabling. We’ve been putting up with this shit a long, long time.

I myself now donate a “double-tithe”, which means I donate 20% of my income to “churches” after donating another 30% to local, state and federal governments for activities which I hope are spiritual, but sadly sometimes are not. I am not a rich man. After I’m done donating I live at the the upper edge of “the poverty level.”

Of my “double-tithe” 10% goes to an urban church I sometimes attend, because I tired of local, rural churches which resembled comfortable country clubs and preferred oblivion. The other 10% of my tithe goes to a small rural church which deals exclusively with rural drug addiction. Drug addiction is a big, big problem, in my neck of the woods.

I really enjoy attending a rural church full of addicts who are fighting their addiction. I’m not allowed to tell you the details, but often fellows fail, and are ashamed, but struggle back to their feet to try again. And as they describe all the embarrassing details of their flopping about like a fish out of water, I often think these men are superior to Washington D.C politicians, or Mainstream Media, or Hollywood stars.

Why? Because, in their excruciating honesty, an addict confesses how he behaved when he tried to escape claws clawing him back. Often they do so with rare humor, and, on the verge of tears, you find yourself laughing. The ridiculous behavior they describe is strangely familiar, and something easy to forgive, for we recognize we all do it, in our own way.

Their behavior also seems strangely familiar because it is exactly, (even down to absurd details), how Washington D.C. and the Media and Hollywood has behaved, since Donald Trump was elected by the American people.

The difference is that addicts are addicted to a drug, but Washington DC and the Media and Hollywood are addicted to fame, money and power. But the withdrawal symptoms are exactly the same.

There is another difference that makes the drug addict superior. The addict confesses his addiction is a problem, and can make you laugh at how, even as he rejects his problem, he fails to escape it. His imperfection makes him lovable, humble is beautiful, and you want to help him (or her) all the more. Politicians and Media and Hollywood are equally addicted. but never confess that they are.

They are addicts, but insist we are the problem. Should we enable them?


As long as the poor addict gets his fix
He can blend in with the freedom-loving,
But, when he’s deprived, that is when he picks
The ruthless path, and his greed starts shoving
Kindness aside, until desperation
Leaps from ledges. Oh, the poor millionaires
The day stocks crash worthless! Oh, poor nation
Founded on sand! For a man’s secret cares
Are the idol he worships; the wooden god,
Which has no power to stoop and uplift
A fallen man. Therefore don’t call it odd
When the high fall, even as a great gift
Appears within those who seemed to be low.
As ruin draws nigh Love’s power will grow.


Perhaps it is because I’m getting old, and the closest I get to adventure is paying my taxes, or having some body-part such as a tooth or kidney removed, that I have developed a strange longing for the trouble I used to get into as a young man. Back then, (especially just after various women had the good sense to not marry me), I had no reason to settle down, and was able to take despair (and freedom from responsibility) and use it to become a sort of desparado.

Because I liked to write, I was a sort of prissy desparado, as desparadoes go, but there can be no denying I lived life on the edge, and occasionally fell off.  I was very downwardly mobile, and not the sort of person many would think was a “good prospect”, and one thing I learned was how badly one can want love. I was too proud too beg, and therefore seldom saw the human charity of spare change clinking into my cap, and instead expected nothing but shunning from my fellow man. To win a smile from someone made my day. But, even when I didn’t deserve a smile, and none were forthcoming from my fellow man, I had a sense God was with me.

Not that I didn’t grumble, but if you read the poetry (psalms) of King David you see he too grumbled a fair amount. I believe such grumbling counts as prayer, and also believe such prayer is answered. True, when you are in a run of bad luck, cruising for a bruising in a way where you deserve your bruises, you don’t catch many breaks. If you sow thistles you will reap a crop of thorns, and therefore your life may not look like an answered prayer. But when you are actually in those shoes the smallest thing can be a blessing, like a warm beam of sunshine finding its way through storm clouds to your shoulders.

That is what I want to capture, if I write about my days as a drifter. But I recognize a danger, as I go through my notes and play with rough drafts. The danger is I may create a “pity-party”, or a smudge of resentment, or even glorify something I should be a little embarrassed about. I want to avoid all that, and instead to show that there was truly glory in the hardship, but it sure wasn’t me. It was a sense that even when life is at its loneliest, you do not walk alone.

Jesus actually stated he did not come for people who had their act together. He came for the people down on their luck, and perhaps that is why the people down on their luck seem to meet Him more than millionaires.  (Also perhaps that is why some millionaires become so decadent, so they too can fall into the gutter and discover the kindness of God.)

Not that I’m in any hurry to get back to the gutter. What I desire is the sense of glory that strangely goes along with having nothing, perhaps because one inadvertently and unintentionally is renouncing the world,  “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”

Last summer I wearied of a church that seemed dulled by complacency. That church seemed a place where no one had any problems, (or pretended that.) Outside its doors there was a serious drug problem, but people didn’t really want “that sort” coming in the doors. Church was a hide-out, a safe sanctuary where people escaped such problems. So I headed out the doors, more interested in places where people had problems, and were facing the issues of “detox” and “rehab” (two words that were not in the English dictionary not all that long ago.)

People who go through “detox” and “rehab” face something called “recidivism”, which in the old days we called “backsliding” or “falling off the wagon.”   In fact some addicts and drunkards use shelters and halfway houses as a way to get back in shape, to regain their health so they can go on another bender. This is very discouraging to those who want to help people escape addiction and become “useful members of society.” However it was noticed that the recidivism rate was much lower at halfway houses that employed God. This is discouraging to atheists. In fact I recently heard a person joke, “The only people who are Christians are perverts, addicts, and Republicans.”  God may have gotten a chuckle out of that, but cynicism doesn’t seem to stop Him.

In any case, I far prefer going to a church full of street people,  who are going through hard times and are down on their luck. They may not wear Sunday suits, nor look like people whose prayers are answered, but they know what I was talking about when I wrote, “the smallest thing can be a blessing, like a warm beam of sunshine finding its way through storm clouds to your shoulders.” Their faces light up, as they talk of mercies from lives few envy.

You hear unexpected bits of wisdom, as you listen. For example, In my life I’ve met people who prayed for something, drummed their fingers impatiently, and then, when the prayer was not answered, stated it was irrefutable proof God does not exist. So I expect such a response from people. Yet I recently heard a person explain the phenomenon roughly like this, “It had been a long, long time since I talked to God. He really liked it when I came back, but He knew, if He answered my prayer, I’d forget all about Him in a big hurry, all over again.  So He kept me talking.”

Another recovering addict told a tale that made me chuckle. He had been working very hard to arise from the ashes and get his life back on track, but his financial situation was in complete ruins, and various bill-collectors were in no mood to be merciful. He (with his wife’s support), had done all the right things, taking more than one embarrassing, menial job and going to the bill-collectors and attempting to arrange payment plans to get back on track, but, even working two jobs, the pay wasn’t enough. Therefore he pushed himself further, and attempted to get a good job despite his criminal record, honestly explaining his situation and offering to take drug tests. He deemed it an example of God’s mercy shining through a human being when he actually landed a good job, for twice as much pay as he had ever earned before, but the job would not start for two weeks and then he’d have to go two weeks before he got his first check. That was too long for his landlord to wait. Although the recovering addict and his wife had paid the current rent he still owed back rent from months before, and had only managed to make a few ten and twenty dollar payments on that back rent, and still owed $1,200.00. The landlord had been patient for months, and served an eviction notice: “Pay up in ten days or move out.”

This dropped the recovering addict to his knees, but as he was praying he heard a crash outside. The old man next door had backed into his wife’s car,  and she had no insurance, nor the money to fix it. The former addict fought off the temptation to use the misfortune as an excuse to get high, and bent the fender back out enough for his wife to use the car. Then he went to work at his two menial jobs, wondering where his wife and he were going to move, as he awaited the start of his better job.

After hanging on in this agonized manner for the ten allotted days his landlord had given him to come up with the rent, the old man next door came up and handed him a check for $1,200. The neighbor did have insurance, and that was how much the insurance company had paid to repair the dent. But the man’s wife said, “The car drives just fine. Let’s use the money to pay the rent.”

And that is the tale of the dent that paid the rent.  It shows the mysterious ways in which God may answer prayers better than any sermon.