Part I

The Addict
I often hear from friends or relatives of people who are addicts in the worst way meaning they have lost all reason and sanity. Their only interest now is how they are going to get their next hit or who they can steal enough from to buy their way of life as they now know it. They ask me what they can do to help them.
This one is really hard and it is so hard to say if you cannot get them into rehab. Have them sent to jail or if they get in leave them. The longer the better. As long as they are locked up they cannot get back on the destructive path they are on. How sad it makes me to see young lives wasting away, to see young children left for anyone that cares enough to love and take care of them.
So many times I have seen people in this kind of shape and tried everything in my power but we don’t have enough power to change anybody that doesn’t want to change until they get sober enough to realize all the lives they are ruining. Only they can do it and they have to get sober enough to have the sense, will, love and desire to do it for their families if not for themselves and I have seen many more keep traveling on that same road than the ones that get off. The ones that have been successful are those who have gone to jail or rehab and stayed long enough not to just sober up but long enough to realize that is not the life they desire for the short time they have left. The drugs are worth it to them in that disgusting life they have become use to. All emotions are gone that they ever felt for another human being. They have only one thing on their minds until something disrupts that thinking . . .like going to jail or rehab for a long time.
When your addict goes to jail leave him or her there; the longer the better.
They didn’t become an addict overnight and they are not going to quit overnight unless they can’t get to it or seriously go to a good rehab three to 12 months long. I kept one at the House of Ruth 15 months. When she left she had a very good job she had been training for. And I saw some leave in three months that I knew would be using before the week was up.
I could see the desire just wasn’t there. Too nonchalant, too flippant, not interested in reading the required books I bought for them; only interested in one thing. Get out and get high again. One laughed and told me that.
And we had spent a lot of money on her for it was not costing her anything to stay there.
We accomplished so much there even though we were only about successful about a third of the time. I praised the Lord every time one made it and I was so sad when we had to close but we drug tested everybody including the housemother and when she tested dirty I had to let her go immediately and I could never find another I felt could love these women like I did. One tried to tell me what I was doing wrong. I saw right away she didn’t understand addicts nor what we were trying to do. If she was hateful to us I could imagine how she would treat the women.
We had a demerit system. We didn’t talk ugly to them though we were very stern, we just gave them so many demerits and they were out but I’ll have to admit I fudged a lot of times on the demerits when I had faith in some of them, after all none of them had been disciplined before except in jail and it was hard to suddenly start living by rules. I treated them like equal human beings for that is how I felt about them.
About a year ago I read of the suicide of one of the best we ever had. She attended AA every week and ended up with a job at the rehab in Madison and was doing so well for a year or two. I never knew what happened but something became such a burden she couldn’t live with it any more. I wish I could have been with her and talked to her but she was in Florida. All of us loved her and she was a big help to the other girls. This news broke my heart. She was one of the most determined we ever had and seemingly the most successful.
That was a good example of nobody knowing what’s going on in someone else’s mind, especially an addict’s. That is why they need love and understanding no matter how hard it is. Try to remember the person they use to be and try to find that hidden person in there somewhere.


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