Two days after Christmas, a FedEx driver appeared at my front door

Carrying a double-wrapped package for me

It was from the FBI! They’d been kind

Enough to send photographs from when I met Director Christopher Wray, earlier in the year

(You can read all about it in my article in The Washington Post)

After I quit meth in 2007, I haltingly pursued my dream—pushed aside for decades, in favor of drugs—of becoming a writer

I wrote a short story, about a man who receives a delivery at home, the day after a snowstorm

He invites the delivery driver inside; their ensuing conversation helps him better understand his own dreams

After I quit meth in 2007, despite a challenging mental health condition which manifested in deep-seated paranoia around the FBI

I overcame my fear and ended up working closely with the Bureau, even receiving a community service award from their Director

Like a person terrified of heights learns to swing from a trapeze

Lying in bed the night the FBI’s package arrived, I thought back…

To times after dark on the streets of North Beach, in my final days on meth, in 2007

Being surveilled by government operatives, at the nexus of a 9/11 conspiracy…what it might all have meant

I didn’t want to get out of bed, yet

Soon enough, I’d risen, donned my black fringed-leather jacket, with the coyote tooth and amethyst crystal for spiritual protection in the pocket

And was headed to BART for a late-night stroll around North Beach

(It was actually only eight-thirty…I tend to fall asleep early)

On the BART platform, a man passed wearing a black t-shirt with “Manhattan” on the front

Lying on the train tracks, a white telephone headset, like I remembered using when my uncle visited me in jail

A lighted sign reminded riders restrooms remain closed at underground stations, due to heightened security concerns

My phone flashed a text, from a person who’d recently entered rehab in Florida…meth addiction was costing him his marriage, children, career

Aboard the train, I pushed aside thoughts of attacks upon a metropolis, a president interrupted as he reads aloud to schoolchildren

In favor of smiling and giving up my seat, so a couple could sit together, as an armed security guard made his way through the doors and onto the next car

I detrained at Montgomery Station to traverse the Montgomery Street corridor, where in meth-fueled days

I’d believed the presence of so many ground-floor banking establishments meant groundwork was being laid for a global financial takeover by hostile nations

One of my many Doomsday Scenarios

A storefront window mannequin, sleek and featureless, wore a blazer and button-down, the goods behind him dangling from racks in semi-darkness

In the lobby of the Transamerica Pyramid, a woman moved a mop, near a lighted triangle that might’ve been a tree, or a scaled-down skyscraper

I used to get high and hang out near the redwood grove behind the Pyramid, drumsticks tapping, the disembodied voice of rock star Dave Grohl trying to teach me to play

I passed the North Beach cafe where once, wearing my Hustler Club tuxedo, I’d seen a man seated, and thought to myself “There’s a cool-looking dude”

It turned out little could’ve been more true, for an instant later I recognized the man as Sean Penn

Not far from the Pyramid, I passed a restaurant/bar

It looked so fine to be inside, warm and friendly, the complete strangers working over open flames in the kitchen, the patrons at their tables, seeming like unmet friends

Soon enough, I reached the doorway of an old haunt, from which I’d been banished for life (and rightfully so) in 2007

I recognized the man greeting patrons outside…he’d worked there in 2007, too

I walked quickly past, and at the bottom of a hill stopped for a moment, considering, knowing what I had to do

Turned about-face, climbed the hill, approached the doorman, remembering his name and reminding him of mine

I explained my past problems with drugs, how when we’d served the establishment together, I was one of the worst possible co-workers…

Yet I’d turned my life around

And thanked him for having treated me well, back in the day

Hoping he’d be moved to continue treating others well, too

Not that he needed my encouragement

Yet kindness, it’s said, is never wasted

After a time discussing family and the plight of the homeless, we shook hands

He assured me if I ever wanted to come inside, he’d welcome me

It’s funny, how one can bomb one’s own life into so much shrapnel

Can banish her-/himself from even the most forgiving realms

Yet the Universe affords opportunities for redemption

I know this to be true in my own life…

Thanks to the incredible people, who led my to the path of spirituality, self-improvement, and serving others

The guy I was in 2007, fully expected a nightmare of the FBI appearing in his doorway

The person others (you, my reader) inspired me to become, finds different sorts of dreams come true

Resources For You:

If you know or are a person who is struggling, check out my free PDF: Ten Helpful Questions to Ask When Someone You Love is Recovering From Addiction

Simply go to my website, and hit the “Download PDF Now” button in the lower right. When you enter your email, you’ll be signed up for my weekly newsletter, Meditations on Meth. Feel free to unsubscribe if you don’t want it.

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