I met Chris Benedetto in a lively park on the Upper East Side of Manhattan—such an interesting juxtaposition for the story he told me that day. Here is a man who has fought addiction and homelessness, who strives every single day. Below, he talks about external validation and tests of faith.
There were times when I just felt like such a misfit. I remember—I’ve been in and out of therapy for a few decades now—there’d be times in group therapy when people would be looking at me like I had a head sprouting out of my shoulder and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, I don’t even fit in with these people?’ You know, so there was, I guess, just this resounding kind of alienation. So, those were, I guess, triggers.
I think a lot of it too was, for years, I always sought validation outside of myself and I let too much of my happiness be contingent on the external. And when I gradually learned to get past that, I think that’s one of the things that messed me up, like, ‘Wow, you know, I’m not drinking, I’m not drugging, I’m not pissing my rent money away. Why is this happening? I’ve been on time every month with my rent. I’ve tried harder with this girl than I have with anyone ever in my life…’
I guess everyone kinda has to take their turn at it, and I guess it was my turn this year. The last big pot hole I hit was probably when my brother died two years ago, so I guess
I was kinda overdue for something big. I think too, you know, we get tested on our faith, or if you’ve decided to quit drinking or drugging or gambling, you’ll get those tests. So I think this was probably a mid-term or an SAT.
If you’re feeling suicidal, please talk to somebody. You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.