Walk Down Misery Street

Funny story, isn’t it?

However, very soon comedy gave way to tragedy.

From the very first day, Adam was confronted with the horrors of war. Armed with a handgun, he carried out wounded soldiers from the battlefield, injected them with morphine, and dressed their wounds. In the field hospital, he assisted during surgeries. To survive, he shot at enemies—Vietnamese soldiers—never knowing if he killed any of them. He fell under the shelling and suffered contusion. After that, he was discharged from the Army and returned to the United States.

He drank alcohol in the Army and swallowed narcotic pills in order not to go insane. I’ll say! Every day seeing blood, wounds, torn pieces of human hands and legs, corpses. Once Adam returned home, he began to drink and use without control. He was mentally broken and knew no other way to cope with his shattered soul.

In those years, the United States did not have the variety of medical centers for war veterans it does today. Back then, little was known about the connections between traumatic experience and drug addiction.

Adam drank and got high for more than ten years. He was admitted to psych wards and detoxes. He visited a therapist. He attended veteran meetings of Anonymous Alcoholics. He went to the synagogue as well in the hope that religion would help. He relapsed, drinking and sniffing again. With great difficulty, finally, he crawled out of this ditch.

Yes, that ride on the carousel in Astroland Amusement Park had come at a very high price.

“Well, that’s my destiny. But I do not regret anything,” Adam told me while we were walking down the street during lunch, sipping coffee from Starbucks. “During the war, I gained an invaluable experience and began to look at many things differently. Of course, it cost me. I had to fight with depression, PTSD, and alcohol addiction. But I learned how to forgive people, understand their weaknesses and their pains, just like everything I experienced.” He looked somewhere into the distance, adjusting the glasses on his nose.