Snake on Addiction

May 23, 2017

Walking down the grassy fields of Albert Park in San Rafael, I came across a man who identified himself as “Snake.”  At first sight, his large frame and scarred cheeks were intimidating. He wore dark glasses and a Dodgers cap, and his Russell Terrier eagerly led their march around the field. Before approaching Snake, I first waited to simply watch him interact with his dog.  The love shared between the two was quite apparent as the slightly-limping dog pridefully piloted their journey across the field, stopping to smell every dandelion.  After I introduced myself, Snake began to tell me a story about his financial downfall, starting with his brother’s tragic death at the age of three. “On the day of the funeral, a couple of older folks in the neighborhood smoked me a joint of gold seal hash, and I slept well that night.  It was the day of my brother’s funeral and it didn’t hurt,” Snake commented, shaking his head and smiling in regret.  “So that was the gateway right there.”  Drugs had been a major part of Snake’s childhood, first in the form of hash and marijuana but later with more serious drugs like LSD and even heroin. “The number one reason for people becoming homeless, I believe, is addiction.  Either to money, to drugs, to sex.  When I tried drugs I didn’t feel the anger, frustration, and pain anymore, and I found a friend.  It had me right there.”

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