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I Have A Friend

I am not sure what year we moved in together. I do know thirteen years ago Pat and I stood on the back porch of our new apartment to survey and admire the vista of the Chicago alley: the backyard gardens, garages, and decorative wooden back stairs to the many Chicago brownstone buildings. Pat and I had been friends for many years before we decided to live together. We moved in, unpacked some boxes and stood together on the back deck talking about living together. Pat was saying how happy he was with the apartment and living in Chicago. I thought he was saying how happy he was living with me. 

Standing there as best friends, we spoke of what fun we were going to have, especially now that we had a reliable source for meth and supplies. We talked about how we would be different from everyone else. The apartment would be clean. We would be selective about who comes over. The stories we had heard about guys stealing, “bag chasers,” and some of the guys we had met; their filthy living conditions would not be our story. We were looking for guys that had it together and were really hot. We talked about how to go about building a social network of friends.  

We had fun painting and arranging the apartment. It had a pinball machine in one corner and a 52-inch TV made for entertainment areas. The walls were a burnt terracotta and contained lots of artwork. Looked really cool at night. Pat was great at electronics. He set up the flatscreen with cameras to enhance the Zoom sex sights. At any time, there would be fifty to a hundred show stoppers on Zoom.  

The parties began; hookups were easy. In the beginning, weekends only, and then maybe every other weekend. I thought we were going to become lovers and sleep and live together as a couple. Pat became aloof and took his own bedroom. Not long into the party scene my drug use became daily. The landlord started complaining about people coming and going at all hours of the night. Pat began to pull away to work the entertainment for himself. I was excluded and left alone to start my own.

Pat became distant, and I worked harder to control and bring him in as a partner. We both began dragging home at all hours whomever was glad to get what supplies we offered. Our friendship became distant. Pat didn’t want anyone thinking we were a couple. He didn’t like being seen on screen with me anymore. I became jealous and hateful towards the floor-covered men taking advantage of us. Angry and hurt, I’d leave the apartment for days at a time taking a hotel room downtown to get away from him and the party at my place, where I was not invited.  

Money became a problem, so we got a job at a UPS store. Working together helped us get our relationship back together. We partied less than in the beginning, now that I was working and having to show up. It was not long until we would show up for work not having slept in a couple days and smelling bad. The owner fired us one morning when he opened the store and found a used condom on the packing table in the back room. We were both HIV positive. Who used a condom?  

A few years later, I became bedridden with all sorts of sickness. Pat stuck around to take care of me. As soon as I was on my feet, we began to rage at each other. Then we broke up.. Pat ended up living out of a self-storage place for a couple months and then moved to Phoenix. I got an apartment and made up my mind I would quit using.  

Determined to quit, I got a therapist. I wouldn’t use right before our appointments so I would look good. I worked hard at quitting. I would cry and swear off meth every session. I would force myself into isolation for a couple days, then I would explode in front of a Zoom audience.  

My next great idea for recovery was using psilocybin mushrooms. I had read a book about how this therapy would repair the brain. I found a guy who specialized in this therapy. One cold winter night he brought the mushrooms. Dipping them in blue cheese, we ate a bunch. My bedroom became a living work of art.

I began traveling as a means to get away from the drug. I would be gone a month or more. A couple times to Europe. Immediately on return, I would be at the dealer’s front door. One time I took a road trip across the United States. I stayed clean for several months until one evening at a motel in the middle of California the guy in the next room invited me over for a drink. There on the table was the pipe. And, a couple days later, I headed home.  

This relentless mind-fighting went on for a couple years. In total despair, I had begged God to end it all. I wanted to die. COVID isolation hit, and the drug use went from bad to worse. I was locked up with nothing to do but Zoom. One summer afternoon, I took a walk at the lake front. Coming around a tree, a guy I had not seen in years said hello. We talked a minute. Then taking me by the arm, he asked me to walk with him. We approached a circle of men all sitting on the grass and chatting. Taking a space next to my friend, the group quieted down. The leader asked if there was anyone among the group here for the first time in his life. I raised my hand.  

It’s been two years since I raised my hand, one of which I have been totally clean and sober. My health has been restored after treatment and time in the hospital recovering. My family calls regularly now to chat. I got a sponsor with whom I am working the 12 Steps. I laughingly refer to the Steps as the Spiritual Theory to Everything. With this sponsor, I have a friend, his name is Bryan. And, in fact, I now have several friends.

— David C.

Ver. 0.2.9
Changelog

0.2.9

  • Performance optimization
  • Depreciated Calendar
  • Minor layout fixes
  • Added Hyperlist page
  • Changed single announcements post layout to horizontal card


0.2.8

  • Removed sticky header
  • Fixed announcements loop mobile layout


0.2.7

  • Introduced Meetings beta page


0.2.6

  • Introduced horizontal announcement cards for homepage and announcements page
  • Added webmail link to Site Index and Intergroup page
  • Minor layout fixes


0.2.5

  • Added MARCMA page
  • Fixed tablet layout issues on header
  • Moved “Posted On” date to the bottom of the announcement cards
  • Minor adjustments to elements


0.2.4

  • Expanded header and footer to full width on desktop
  • Centered logo on header and repositioned menus on desktop
  • Incorporated mega menu trigger into logo
  • Introduced new full width footer
  • Created Site Index slide-in
  • Revised Changelog slide-in
  • Refreshed Stories page and implemented Loop Grid queries
  • Minor layout fixes


0.2.3

  • Minor layout fixes
  • Standardized heading fonts H1 through H6 for uniformity
  • Transitioned more text elements to REM
  • Added CMA Fellowships Directory page
  • Fixed mobile menu 


0.2.2

  • Introduced new horizontal logo design and enlarged proportions on header
  • Thinned header
  • Recolored the title bar above header to pale gray
  • Introduced new color schema throughout site with more bold, contrasting colors against neutral backgrounds
  • Restyled New to CMA? page
  • Introduced new Intergroup logo with Lottie animation
  • Simplified homepage layout
  • Introduced design blog
  • Set button border radius to 15px site-wide


0.2.1
 

  • Replaced homepage slider with new hero design
  • Added Lottie animations
  • Added change log page
  • Implemented Loop Builder for queried posts
  • Redesigned announcements carousel on homepage
  • Redesigned announcements archive pages with infinite scroll
  • Minor fixes to layouts
  • Unified button color schema
  • Optimized database
  • Removed old page revisions for performance


0.2.0

  • New header layout
  • Implemented mega menu
  • Recolored major elements with more saturated hues
  • Homepage redesign with scrolling clouds motion at footer
  • Footer condensed and restyled
  • Added Daily Check-In page


0.1.10

  • Restyled Newcomer page with cloud graphics
  • Changed name to ‘New to CMA?’


0.1.9

  • Added Stories pages
  • Configured Stories category and blog query


0.1.8

  • Header rescaled and added background blur


0.1.7

  • Added Elections page


0.1.6

  • Added Online meetings page


0.1.5

  • Homepage refresh
  • Added Announcements carousel


0.1.4

  • Added Dual-Diagnosis page


0.1.3

  • Added Newcomer page


0.1.2

  • Introduced card-styled elements throughout site
  • Complete restyling of Meetings page with card-centric layout


0.1.1

  • Container reduced to 1140px
  • Header resized and  boxed


0.1.0

  • Initial release
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