Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Godspeed For A Difficult Journey

There's been a good bit of attention lately in the media on the issue of crystal meth. I'm not the type to judge people when it comes to drug use -- I don't really draw much of a distinction between alcohol or prescription drugs or street drugs. In the end, each individual has to make their own choices about how they treat themselves and their bodies.

That said, I've had plenty of exposure to the type of harm people can do to themselves, especially when it comes to crystal. I've had to watch a few roommates and several friends slowly tear themselves apart (not to mention relationships and friendships) with every line and hit off a glass pipe. I've experienced their personal hell expanding to engulf those around them. With the best of intentions I've made the mistake of trying to save them and I've also had to finally step back and let them go. Its broken my heart every time.

In the past few years, however, I've also seen people manage to claw their way back out of the abyss and put their lives back together. Perhaps I'll never know just how difficult a journey it is (I give thanks for that, I confess) but I've seen shaky first steps from people most would wager were too far gone become stronger and stronger until they were the ones mentoring those trying to climb their way back out. So the dark times have been lined with hope for the lost and pride for the brave ones who have found their way again.


Ron was one of the first people I met when I started going out in Phoenix. I was still in the closet back then and felt so out of place when he swooped down and saved me from the creepy guy hitting on me at Trax. He was really the first person that made me feel safe enough to talk and the first friend I made... He put his arms around me and held me as I sobbed with fear the night before I came out to my parents. He was there when I got my heart stomped on in my first few relationships.

At the same time, Ron had his own demons and the drugs became his means to escape. Call after call detailed crystal-fueled orgies, HIV scares and a notable car accident... Of course, lectures never help, though I tried. His doctors and therapists did their best as well. As anyone in recovery can tell you, you have to want to be helped. He's known its a problem for a long time - its not as though he's in denial and he's aware of the kinds of changes he needs to make in his life in order to finally free himself. Up until now it was much easier to fantasize that he could move far away where the drugs will never find him. Of course, somehow they'd find him -- they always have and its been easy to blame everyone else than to put up too much resistance.

I had basically resigned myself that at some point I would get a phone call that something had happened and that he'd be gone. I've had calls late at night that I was sure were that fateful call.

Instead, I recieved an e-mail of a different sort. It seems that he's finally had enough and he's ready to take that first step. While I wish I could make the journey easier for him, I know that, for now, all I can do is pray.


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