The experience was extremely difficult, Frank said, recalling times when watching his son's pain and crippling addiction brought him to tears. He could the see dominating force of addiction – the constant use of people and the single-minded focus on the drug.
Because of a previous charge for bike theft, Tommy had to appear in court that week, pass a drug test, and provide evidence of attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings, or he would automatically get 30 days in jail.
But before the court case, he went into a grocery store, where he spent so long that Frank stated: "I'm sure it was to shoot up and fill his rear end with drugs. If they send him to jail he can be high and have a backup supply in jail. That's what they do. This is all so sick. Most people couldn't even imagine this world. I lived it. It is real."
In the end, Tommy was able to make a deal with the District Attorney's office, delaying the court appearance and drug test for an additional week.
Frustrated and exhausted by the end of the trip, Frank complained about his son's lack of appreciation and rude behavior. However, his wife reminded him that the mental illness and drug addictions were influencing Tommy's behavior.
Frank's week-long visit with his son did not solve the problems of Tommy's addiction or homelessness. But it gave Frank a chance to connect with his son in his suffering and to express his love.
"This experience has changed me for life," wrote Frank, noting the insight he has gained into the public's reaction to homelessness and the hold of addictions.
While taking public transportation or waiting in line to make a purchase, he said he was treated like a second-class citizen, both ignored and harassed because he appeared to be homeless.
"What would God say? How many of these folks go to church every week?" he said. "Maybe they too, like myself, should change and respect our fellow man."
While Frank said that he does not give money to homeless people, he now makes a greater effort to talk to them and show them love and respect.
"I treat them like I would treat somebody else. They deserve that. God made us all equal. We are still humans, show some respect."
(Story continues below)
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