When we last left 18-year-old Michael, he/I had gone to an ashram in West Virginia to become a monk.
A couple of years later, I left the monastery, and it gradually became apparent that I was no longer acting from the place of who I was, i.e., a spirit soul, part and parcel of God, but rather from who I thought I was: a young man in love, and then a father, a salesperson, a husband, a provider. It’s not that I didn’t play those roles. It’s just that I forgot that those roles merely represented the way people identified me. They weren’t really me; the essence of who I am.
At first, I felt good and proud to serve in those positive roles. But as my drinking and drugging escalated, that good feeling eroded and my responsibilities felt like burdens.
After several years of being a good father and husband, as well as the best salesperson in my company, I started to lose it all. My drinking interfered with my family life, first, and then it affected my work. My health began to fail and I had two open heart surgeries in my 20s. Soon after the second surgery, I was asked to leave my home and children. And not long after that, I left my job because of my drinking.
I had lost it all. The gift that was so freely given me as a young teenager…the understanding of who I was and what life is meant for, in addition to all that I had, my three children and wife, my home, and my work. All of it gone.
I soon became homeless because I ran out of money, and then overstayed my welcome at the homes of family members and friends. Finally, I lost any sense of dignity. I wanted to die. I actually walked over several bridges in Manhattan, peering over the railings, but I just didn’t have it in me to throw myself off. Maybe I was just too cowardly, or maybe there was another power greater then myself at work. I lived on the subway and panhandled off and on. Then, one night, a woman picked me up while I was riding the subways and took me home.
For the next two and half years I lived with her. And despite the fact that I had a roof over my head and food in my belly, I was still running . . . running from myself. My drinking worsened. The thought of suicide still lurked in the back of my mind. I was extremely depressed about not being the father I wanted to be for my children. And an overwhelming sense of failure clouded my every thought.
Next week . . . how I found myself again.
To learn more about Michael Hoare and Ah-Man, visit here.