Keep the focus on you

(Originally published 09/15/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reblogged 06/25/14.)

Teddy is an old man. He wears a rosary around his neck, and never fails to “testify” in chapel. “I talk to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost every day,” he says. Every time there’s an altar call, he runs right up there to get born-again — again. Five times a week, he’ll do that.

He got barred out a year ago for selling someone oxycontin.

Friday night 09/07/12, he came back. He insists to everyone that he’s never been here before, and said he wants to get into the program.

Aside from those things, he hasn’t changed at all. Still all the same empty religious talk.

Sunday night he said he changed his mind about the program. They require you to sign over all your benefits, and he’s not willing to do that. That tells me you don’t want to get well.

I get bad feelings every time I see him.

———— ♦ ————

Sitting outside waiting to be let in, Wednesday 08/29/12 Fallon and a couple other guys I don’t like too much got into reminiscing about how this shelter used to be, years ago, before the renovation. This upset me.

How are these guys still homeless after all these years? Has homelessness become their chosen lifestyle? Have there been obstacles to becoming free, all these years, that they could not overcome?

What does all this mean for me? Will I face obstacles to freedom that I cannot — ever — overcome? Will homelessness become my chosen lifestyle?

I became angry.

———— ♦ ————

For the past two months I have been depressed a lot, and sometimes angry, for no clear reason. I’ve felt as if my life is going nowhere and as if perhaps there’s no way out. On Friday 09/07/12, standing in the line waiting to get signed in for the night, I came to the end of my willingness to feel miserable about my situation, and I chose to start wanting a better life for myself instead.

The depression went away at once.

“Keep the focus on you” is a slogan of the Twelve Steps movement, and it applies here — and to anyone who wants to get on his or her feet, to improve her or his situation.

If I want to want a better life, I cannot pay too much attention to people like Teddy and Fallon. I need to stay focused on my own goals. The things about them that I disapprove of are distractions. How much time and energy can I afford to waste disapproving of them?

From this POV, I recognize no obstacles to freedom that I cannot overcome. In practical terms, then, there are no obstacles at all.

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