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RIGHT PATH: Helping loved ones

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By The Staff

“I have not seen or heard from my son in four weeks. I know he was alive a month ago because he stopped by his grandparent’s house asking for food and money. You see, my son is running from multiple warrants for drug possession. I know that he has guns, and I’m afraid he’ll kill himself or someone else–including me. I’m actually praying he will get arrested and go to prison so that he can at least realize that he has a problem. This is the hardest, saddest time of my life, and if it were not for my walk with the Lord, I don’t know what I would do.  Even now I wonder if I can make it as I am increasingly overwhelmed with anxiety over whether my son is dead or alive. If it were not for the Reformers Unanimous program and the support of my leadership that I have found there, I don’t think I could carry on–it’s just so hard.”

The above is an excerpt from a letter written by a woman who is just like you and me.  What has happened to this woman, tragically, can happen to anybody.  Addiction is a problem that breaks down the walls of all socio-economic classes and devours whoever it can, regardless of their upbringing or background.  Imagine, if you will, the one whom you love–the happy, healthy, young person with a great future ahead of him; a talented student, a generous giver, a loving friend, a new parent, and they are losing everything to addiction!  All of their time and money goes into their addiction. They lose their job. Their car is repossessed, their house is foreclosed, and their spouse leaves them. The grief is unrelenting; it is almost worse than a death. A selfish, lying, evasive, and suspicious monster replaces your formerly happy and generous loved one. They get violent and abusive towards you. They may even threaten to harm you and steal from you.

When you approach your loved one about the situation, about the drug addiction, about the extreme consequences that are transpiring in their life, they will be in denial. They will outright deny any usage of drugs! Any drug paraphernalia that you might find in their room, house, or vehicle will belong to a friend, according to your loved one.  If you happen to catch your loved one with the drug in hand, they will most likely concede to using it, but they will vehemently deny they are addicted.  They may even say, “Somebody planted the drug on me!” “Oh, I have just taken it once or twice, and it is doing no harm!” They can even go to the length of saying, “I work better on this stuff. It helps me concentrate better!”  The person may tell you they can drive more safely while on the drug and that it helps them compensate for their shortcomings. They even go as far as to say they are doing it for your own good so that they can make more money, be more productive, get better grades, and be a better person for you.

At times, your loved one may discontinue use of the drug for awhile in a feeble effort to prove to you that they are not an addict, but, unfortunately, they rarely can stay off for a very long time. They attempt this feat in order to demonstrate that they have some type of control over the situation (which they obviously don’t). Your loved one thinks of it as a crutch, hobby, or choice. They use the drug as a medicine, and in their own mind and thought processes, it works! It gives them endless energy, a focus and drive they have never experienced.  Everything seems to be fun, interesting, and it feels so wonderful to be high and alive. They know they are dying from the consequences of continued use, but they do not care. It feels so good to die!

Richard Travelstead is the director of Reformers Unanimous (RU), a Christ-centered recovery program for anyone dealing with addiction. RU meets each Friday at Lighthouse Baptist Church at 7 p.m. The church is located at 88 Miller Road in Taylorsville. Travelstead can be reached at rtravelstead@netscape.net or at 502-298-3038.