Coming to you from the parking lot of Desolation Row

Sorry Mr. Dylan, but there is no other way to put it. The rapid descent of the sometime Clyde to my Bonnie is picking up apace and nobody who can do anything about it seems to care at all. I’ve called emergency mental health services, I’ve called homeless shelters, I’ve called churches and missions. Its hopeless. The Churches won’t take him because he drinks, he can’t not drink because he is physically addicted and prone to delirium tremens seizures. There are no places at detox, and he won’t go anyway. I’m reduced to pleading with his elderly precious addicted self to damn well go to the ER. It’s all to no avail.

He is spending what little he has on booze, the booze which his body is demanding at greater volumes and faster speeds, and now, it would appear, he has found himself some meth. Great. That is exactly what a seventy something year old alcoholic who has a brain tumor, high blood pressure due to the strain of the tumor on his vascular system and who survived a stroke needs, right. Amphetamines. The cops have been to check on him, and left. No one can or will save him from himself, and I am in no position at all to do much of anything for him now. I have to protect myself.

I’m at a loss. I’m preparing myself for the inevitable. I’m going to lose him, and we will not be on good terms. It won’t be an end where there are people who love him there. I won’t be able to be there. He is probably going to die alone in his camper in some God-forsaken parking lot. The first and possibly the last I’ll ever know about it is that he will stop answering his phone and that will be that.

He is grandiose, delusional. He thinks he is performing high art, that the paint daubed on the side of his camper declaring that this is his Paris bath tub (a la Jim Morrison), is a treasure. He thinks that his signs warning people not to come near are polite and self explanatory. He cannot think of any reason why he cannot do what he is doing. He has lost himself.

I have been down a few times myself. I have watched him do this more often than I care to remember. But this time is different, more dangerous. He is older, more broken, sicker, more delicate. He does not have any more tickets to ride. This is it.

All the rehabs and the detoxes, all the tears and the effort put in, all the promises and the lies, all of it came to the paltry sum of precisely nothing in the end. That is all he has left me with of him and us and decades of friendship. Nothing.

I call him and talk to him, try to calm him down, reason with the unreasonable. I wish, to be frank, that he would be dragged into a psych ward against his will, but no one seems to want to save him, heaven knows I’ve tried until I have become a nuisance myself. He wants to die, and I’m forced to allow him to do so.

It is brutal.

I cannot offer him the civilized care that he deserves, because he has refused to be civilized, and there is no romantic rebellion in this. It is cold, harsh, it stinks of shit and piss and desperation. Kids, this is addiction. If nothing else, pull up and out of it because the end is always brutal. Like it was brutal for my fallen friends who died with needles in their arms, my long gone lovers, and my sometime heroes. Brutal and strange and cold, and it is my fate to listen to it slide into the final ditch. Lucky me.

And I have no idea what to do next.

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