Wednesday, December 12, 2012

SCOTT ENGLISH - After a night of sleeping on a concrete slab in the freezing cold.

     I met Scott English and his girlfriend on a cold winter morning, after they’ve had a rough night. The ground outside was still wet from several days of heavy rain. But on that Friday Night, the sky cleared, and it got very cold.
     In order to prevent the ground moisture from soaking their sleeping bags, Scott and his girlfriend spent the night trying to sleep on a concrete slab, in the freezing cold.
     From the way that they looked on Saturday Morning, I don’t think either one of them had gotten much sleep.
     Scott is thirty-nine years old, but he looks younger than that. Although he was somewhat haggard on that morning, he is actually a very handsome man. He is an eloquent speaker, and very intelligent.
     When you talk to him, his facial expressions remind you of a famous actor. But that actor is not famous enough for me to remember his name.
     Scott tells me that he has been homeless for most of the past twenty-three years.
     He first became homeless by choice. He was tired of dealing with a working man’s life.
     "Back then," he says, "The economy was way better. And people just gave you money. So, I could get enough money to get drunk when ever I wanted, and I didn’t have to work to pay for the alcohol. So, for me, being homeless was great.
     "But that was a different time. Nowadays, being homeless is not so great."
     What is the hardest part about being homeless for Scott?
     "Staying sober. I’ve done a lot of drinking, and I’ve also done all kinds of drugs. But alcohol is my drug of choice.
     "Right now, I’ve got three days of being clean and sober.
     "I’d like to stay that way. But it’s really hard.
     "Like today, I am really wanting to drink."
     I ask Scott if he’s tried going to AA meetings, or getting into some kind of rehabilitation program.
     "Oh, yes. I’ve been to A.O.D (which I later learned stands for Alcohol Outpatient Drugs).
But all they do is tell you, go here, and then, go there. Those government employees get paid to run you around. It’s all just a big run around. It’s all B.S.
     "And by the way, the worst possible thing that you can do for a homeless person is to give him money. Because, most of the time, they use the money to buy drugs or alcohol.
     "So, the money that you give them feeds their addiction.
     "And if you keep feeding their addiction long enough, it just gets worse and worse, until eventually, they get crazy, and they hurt people to get what they need."
     If Scott had a magic wand, so that he could be or do absolutely anything, what he be or do?
     "I would help out at a homeless shelter," Scott answers. "I want to help people who are in my position."
     I ask Scott if he has a message for the world.
     "Repent, or perish," Scott says. "One of these days, I’m going to get myself a big, wooden cross, and a long, white robe, and I’m going to carry that cross around, with a big sign that says, ‘Repent, or perish."
I ask Scott what he believes makes him special and unique in the world.
     "I know how to play a guitar for God," Scott says.
     "And I’m good at loving the loveless. Because I’ve been loveless a whole lot.
     "That’s it.
     "That’s all of it.
     "Just Jesus, and my Baby." He looks at his girlfriend, and smiles.
     Scott’s girlfriend, having just spent the night sleeping on a concrete slab in the freezing cold winter night, is feeling so poorly that she doesn’t feel up to doing an interview.
     Near the end of my interview with Scott, he says something about learning to live by faith that is so brilliant, and so eloquently stated that I can’t get it all written down.
     Instead, I tell Scott that while I was listening to him, I was wishing that I could speak that eloquently myself.
     I tell Scott that he is one of the most brilliant and eloquent men that I have ever encountered. I tell him that he has the power to make a positive difference in the lives of a lot of people. And if he doesn’t stay sober, and use his God-given talent to help other people, it will be a tragedy.
     "I fully intend to do just that," Scott says.
     Pastor Dan Appel comes in, and tells Scott about the new recovery program that the Seventh Day Adventist Church is holding at two o’clock on Saturday Afternoons. We ask Scott to come to the two o’clock meeting.
     Scott says that he and his girlfriend will be there.
    But, as it so often occurs in these kinds of stories, two o’clock on that Saturday Afternoon comes and goes, and this brilliant young alcoholic never shows up.

     This is the one-hundred-and-eighth in a series of articles about Auburn-area homeless people, written by local attorney, author, and Sierra College Instructor Bob Litchfield.

1 comment:

  1. This is such an inspiring story and it is something that is really worth reading. Seldom that we meet people that would tell us more than how they live their lives in a daily basis. Sometimes we'll meet these guys who have experienced a lot of struggles like being on rehab centers; being homeless; and the like but you'll see them moving on.