An alcoholic sits in the alley off Main between Akard and Field staring at the people walking past. The young-looking man sits on a windowsill puffing quickly, adjusting his hat sitting on his short blonde hair underneath his black cap, knowing that he’s only got a short time before he has to go back to prep food.

Matt is sober now for almost two months after having battled with it since he was about 20. He’s 29 now. His struggle with alcoholism, like most reformed alcoholics, is hard and cost him a few jobs over the years. Matt previously worked at Nonna when it was open at the Hilton Anatole and the French Room across the street in the Adolphus. He also worked in uptown at little bistros here and there, before a brief spell of unemployment.

“I had to move back in with my parents,” he said. “So I live with my mom and dad right now, out in a little town far away from here.”

One day, Matt was walking on Main and thought he’d submit an application, hoping for the hire. About two weeks later they called, and he’s been able to keep the job ever since. Yes, his struggles have caused some problems with Jason’s Deli- but they still let him show up every day.

“I skipped out for a whole week, didn’t call or show up or anything,” he said. “I came back and they were all worried about me. They were like, ‘where have you been? We tried to call, and thought you were dead!’ I was like, no, I just relapsed,” he said, hiding his eyes under the black cap as he looks to the ground.

Matt, the 29-year-old Jason’s Deli worker has been there since last May and loves it. Nights and weekends are no stranger to the man who never really had a social life, but now that he’s at a kitchen only open Monday through Friday, he’s happy to have weekends off.

“They treat me real good here,” he said.

Matt comes in around 6 or 7 in the morning, depending on the day. Today, he came in at 6 and is ready for his usual shift to end at 3 p.m. He stands up, and walks around the corner quickly, stopping for a moment outside the restaurant doors.

Matt ‘s ready to get back to work so he can get off on time. He’s ready to enjoy the free time he said he’s so lucky to have.

“I’ve lost so many friends. I probably only have three real friends right now,” Matt said, putting out his cigarette under his black, no scuff shoes and pulling the door handle toward him. “I’ve burned a lot of bridges.”


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