I asked him if he had a few minutes that he could break away from his other tables. He said he would come back in a little while and sure enough he did. Rob took a seat at the table and I asked him what he does when he is not waiting tables and the answer I got shocked me quite a bit.
“I’m mostly just concentrating on being sober.”
I wasn’t quite sure how to take this. Was it a joke, or was Rob serious. I quickly deduced that he was indeed serious. He shares with us that he got hooked on crystal meth for about nine months until one day he realized he hadn’t slept in days and was an absolute wreck. “I wasn’t selling myself. I wasn’t stealing, but I also knew that that was next…I was about to cross that line.”
He went on to share something that he recently heard in rehabilitation, “The thing about addiction is that people continue these behaviors in spite of catastrophic consequences.”
Rob’s addiction perplexed him. Neither of his parents were abusers of any kind of drug or alcohol, but he had a grandparent on each side with addiction issues. Perhaps he has a genetic predisposition to it.
Rob agreed to talk to me on camera. He talks about giving, the $10, about his struggle with substance abuse, and the future.
Rob later told me that he has not been sober for five months; rather he has been in treatment for five months and been sober for two months. I told him that those details were less important in my mind as this is something he needs to work at day by day.
I sometimes watch Intervention on A&E. The one interventionist, Jeff VanVonderen, who has been sober for 25 year recently relapsed with his alcohol addiction. So, it is a lifelong process and commitment.
I received the following note from Rob this week:
I have contemplated the fate of my $10. Theoretically it will go towards debt, in particular the taxes I will file tomorrow. But I’ve already spent $60 since I received it. Did I use for cigarettes? Paper towels and cookies from CVS? The Chinese food I ordered from O’Tasty? And every time I use my debit card, $1 is automatically transferred into my savings account. Did any of those dollars come from the ten I got from you? Then of course there’s June 15. If I give away $10, might that be the very same $10 I got on day 117 of the Year of Giving?
I asked Rob if he needed anything that I cold list on the Lend a Hand section. He explained that he really wanted to get back into modern dance and would really like to take some classes. Financially that will be a challenge so if anyone would like to help Rob, he would love to receive a gift card for a dance studio that is Metro accessible, like Joy of Motion, Dance Place, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, or even Maryland Youth Ballet. Maybe one of these dance studios would consider donating some classes for Rob as well.
Rob’s manager came over and gave him that look like, “you need to get back to work.” I hope I didn’t get him in trouble. We left, but I have thought about our conversation a lot since then and am really pulling for Rob to beat this addiction.