Thank you for reading and your kind words about the article! You don’t have to apologise, comments/feedback are the best part of writing, that’s what I write for — to know that what I was trying to say has really been of value/meant something to someone else, it’s a heart-warming experience, so thank you.
And thank you for the advice you offer! You are right, I have supported ex-addicts in the past as a support worker, and when I gave them control of a situation in which their existence could be appreciated and valued (e.g. just like you say; watching my bag, or maybe going to buy the food for lunch if I gave them the money) it seemed to make them so much happier. I guess it’s the same for anyone, I love to feel like I am of value to other people, even in small ways it can make a big difference to my well-being, just to know that my sister appreciates me making her dinner or tidying her bedroom — it feels good and it reminds me that I am of real value to the world/other people, everyone deserves to feel like that.
Regarding Ben, I see him quite often, I will perhaps strike up a conversation with him again soon when he seems reasonably present, maybe I’ll offer him a cigarette to break the ice and see where things go.
All the best,