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Take The Road To Recovery.
Recovery via

Recovery via

Copy and paste the How-To to google and you’re done, except for the important part.

A reason to visit.

My reason bounced in and out of jail for problems related to heroin addiction. Right now he’s in.

In order to visit, my name needs to be on his visitor list.

Sunday his dad and I will drop in for an hour or so.

I’ve been to jail before, but not to visit anyone. My Grandma in Dallas, Texas was a jail matron. She took all of us kids down to the Dallas County Jail for a mug shot and a walk through the area where Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald.

My Dad took his kids to visit the old North Bend jail. He knew the police chief and made sure we got the jail message.

Sunday is different. I’ve known the prisoner since he was in first grade.

What will we talk about? What is there to say?

The first rule I’ll follow is be a good listener.

What I’ve learned so far:

Being A Heroin Addict Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry?

A recovering addict moves into their parents home for sobriety support. Then things started missing.

Then more things, until it’s pretty clear what’s going on. An addict needs money for their fix. Selling things for money is the fast track. Who the things belong to isn’t important.

Son to father: “Don’t take it personally, it’s not me, it’s the drugs.”

How many parents could maintain their composure when they find important things missing?

The Next Step Of Help

One heroin addict found a way to take money from their folks without them knowing.

But they found out. Like most people untrained in dealing with addictive behavior the parents needed help.

They couldn’t make their adult child understand what they needed to do. Hard drugs create a barrier between right and wrong. The only right thing is more heroin; the only wrong is not enough.

Heroin addicts move through a predictable cycle from getting high on the hit and feeling it, to taking heroin to avoid withdrawals. It becomes a chronic disease to manage, instead of party time.

With a warrant out for his arrest, an addict came home. The parents needed him to do the right thing, or they’d do it for him. So they called the police, who came and picked him up.

Dad to son: “Don’t take it personal. This is how the system works.”

The Addict Next Door

A family with a hard core heroin addict feels isolated until events become more public. Once that happens the door opens to dialogue where you learn about neighbors, former meth addicts, alcoholics, and more.

Your membership in the club, through personal experience or family, reveals more than you’d ever guess. Who knew you lived in a world of recovery, of people who’ve looked over the edge and backed away.

The strong character in families show when they don’t close the door, turn their back, and walk away. Character means doing the hard thing and hanging onto the love someone needs, whether they know it or not.

You hear the words, “going to jail is the best thing for a heroin addict,” and it makes sense. It doesn’t mean lock the door and throw away the key. Instead, it means giving support and hope for a better future.

When Does The Future Start

One recovering addict told me, “If you want to change your game, sometimes you have to change your playground.”

I let it sink in with thoughts of a playground bubbling up. My favorite playground was in grade school at Bangor Elementary School. The best part was running through tunnels of blackberries during games of tag. Not everyone who was ‘IT’ wanted to chase through the tunnels.

Whether running or chasing, you’d get cut.

Seems the same with heroin recovery. Whether you’re on it or off, it’s still a deadly foe.

The future begins when getting high is less attractive than not getting high. It’s not the punishment. Since heroin creates a sense of well being, how can punishment work?

You can drill good ideas into an addict all day, but you won’t know if any took until they have their freedom and choose not to go back to the drug life.

If food, shelter, and clothing make up the basics of life, and a former addict is smart enough to balance earning their way against doing whatever it takes for the next fix, then they begin a new life with that future laid out in front.

A strong family, one that knows their limits, knows they’re not alone in the community, and most of all have told the addict what their limits are, is the foundation a good future begins with.

You can build on that.

Part 2: What I plan to say at the Washington County Jail.




About David Gillaspie
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