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Keeper of the Castle

The title of this writing is part of a phrase I heard a few years ago. That phrase and the situation surrounding it’s use, will stick with me the rest of my life.

I was in a hospital room, giving my support to a critically ill patient. The nature of that illness was a result of alcohol and drug abuse. This person was near and dear to my heart and emerging from a near-death experience in the ICU. A continuation of that process was going through the DT’s as his body withdrew from the controlling effects of alcohol addiction. It is an experience I witnessed firsthand and will never forget.

I was alone in the room with him at the time with him and a nurse, who was constantly monitoring the situation. His hands were bound to the bed rails, preventing him from removing the IV’s that were keeping his body alive. He began struggling against the restraints and kicking, while loudly yelling what seemed to be incoherent thoughts. I held his legs as nurses, then security and police arrived to hold him down. It was then he leaned forward and looked me in the eye with a rage I have never seen and yelled at the top of his lungs, “You’re not the keeper of the castle.”

That phrase was the most memorable, but was interspersed with other seemingly incoherent rants. The totality of everything he said led me to my belief that detoxification from substance abuse is an attempt by your soul to recapture it’s connection with the mind and body. In this case, his “castle” was symbolic of the walls he had built around his mind, though chemical control of his body, which numbed the connection to his soul. It is a struggle between the physical and spiritual aspects of one’s being.

During the days he spent in this intensive care room, I had talked with him about about spirituality and the human experiences that led him to addiction. It was not a coincidence that I was the only loved one in the room with him when this episode occurred. The statement that I was not the keeper of the castle was his mind rebelling against me, as a representative of his spirituality. You see, I was trying to help him discover his own soul and allow it to be the keeper of his castle. To help him tear down his walls and emerge into a place where he would enjoy the oneness of mind, body and soul.

After several more days in the ICU and weeks in a regular hospital room, his body and mind made significant progress toward reconnection with his soul. Sadly, his body failed him and he passed away at home a few months later. Only after his passing would his soulful being understand how much he was loved.

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