Two Eagles

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

My counselor recommended this clinic to me so that I could have a tooth pulled out. So, I was kind of disappointed to find out that you don’t do that here. I had to drive quite a way, with poor instructions from her. But that’s not your fault. And at least I got some information about where to go.

I’m 33 years old and living in a halfway house. I’m currently sober, but it’s a constant struggle. I’ve had a rough life, and honestly, it’s amazing that I’m even still alive. A few months ago, I punched a guy and was charged. At that time in my life, I was using meth, cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol. It was my birthday night, I was drinking and using cocaine. It started because he was talking down women; he is a scummy person. Then he lied and told my coworkers that I was trying to sell him meth in the bathroom when he was actually asking me for cocaine all night. And things just got out of control. In that exact moment when I hit the guy, I saw where my life was going… drugs, jail, and death.

So, I did my time, and I’m finally back in line with the law now. If that hadn’t happened, I would probably be dead by now from an overdose or some other result. But since this all happened, I realized that I didn’t want this kind of life. I don’t want to use and doing time gave me some resources to quit.

I was sober for 4 months when I last slipped. I was so filled with shame and disgust. I was so disappointed with myself. But that didn’t stop me from continuing even as I felt ashamed. And that’s addiction for you, when you’re crying even as you are using.

And that’s addiction for you, when you’re crying even as you are using.I want to stay clean. I’m working on not being so hard on myself. I mean things were going so well, I was sober, I was working, straightening out my life. But you know, that’s when I relapsed. Things were going so well and then I was offered a position to be a mentor and all these other responsibilities… and it was too much. It overwhelmed me.

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I don’t see myself as a “desk job” worker. I always saw myself doing something with my hands, making something or fixing something… But maybe this is what I was called to do. Maybe I’m meant to fix people. To mentor people and help them get off drugs.

My dad died a year ago and his wife just died recently. I went down by the river to make my peace and two eagles fly over my head. I get goosebumps just talking about it. One flew by real close and looked me in the eye and then reunited with the other. It was like they were happy to finally see each other after that year. And I wasn’t able to settle our problems before she died, so it was incredible to experience that.

My dad was also an addict, and he ended up being my mentor—which was great, he understood, and I was able to tell him everything. I wear a necklace with his fingerprint on it. It says “Love ya” because he was always saying that to everyone.

This narrative was shared by the author through a narrative medicine project of the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic, a free clinic in Phillips staffed by faculty and students from the University of Minnesota. For more information about the clinic, see their website or contact  

Last Updated on November 20, 2020

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