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Benny Barret Confesses to Drug Addiction

To jog your memory: last summer, the Observer posted a story on its blog about a man named Benny Barret who chose to live as a homeless person so that he could document the lives of the homeless. Turned out, though, that one of our staffers went to school with Barret, and he’d tried that whole “I’m homeless” thing back then, too, in an effort to get a story about himself written in the school paper. There’s more to the back story. You can catch up here.

Well, an alert FrontBurnervian points us to Barret’s blog, whereon yesterday he posted an apology for the way he’s been behaving and explained how he nearly died when he fell, naked, out of a tree. The post is titled “I Screwed Up and I’m Sorry.” An excerpt:

I had been a teacher at a private high school in Waco, Texas. I loved my students and found joy in my vocation. In the summer of 2011, while writing some new courses that I would be teaching during the upcoming year, I had an accident that nearly took my life. I had been prescribed a sleep aid called Ambien, a medicine that can cause strange side effects. I took my first dose, fell asleep, and dreamt that I ran six blocks naked, climbed up a tree in a grocery store parking lot, fell out of it when a branch broke, and, for what seemed to be an eternity, lay paralyzed in total darkness aware of myself but stuck in my head. I thought that I had died. When I woke up in intensive care the next day, I learned that this had not been a dream, but that I had in fact survived a 25-foot fall onto pavement. It was a terrifying and humiliating event and the near death experience affected me deeply.

He goes on to explain how he got hooked on a drug called AM 2201. It sounds, though, like Barret has cleaned himself up and is in a better state of mind now.