Enablers Can Kill Addicts
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way . . .” The Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens.
The tale of two cities embodies the multifaceted and complex problems of addiction that has invaded our homes, families, children, workplaces and churches. In the drug world, everyone uses some sort external chemical stimuli to change the way they feel. In the respectable world no one uses illicit drugs for any reason. In the drug world most everyone has been incarcerated at one time or another. In the straight world no one has ever been in jail or prison, or for that matter, hasn’t even seen the inside of one. In the drug world time, reason and order are not a part of the thinking process and very few things make any sense. In the law-abiding world, logic, thought and consideration cause things to make sense. In other words, the drug using world and the world that doesn’t use are poles apart – daylight to dark; black to white. The non-user not only does not understand those who are addicted, they don’t want anything at all to do with them until the ‘them’ becomes personal.
These two worlds very seldom touch or intermingle knowingly. Addicts sometimes do go to church, and they are for sure found in the workplace, but their addictions are usually in the closet, so their friends don’t know. And the members of the church or co-workers may have family who are addicts or alcoholics, but for the most part there is very little communication due to a complete lack of understanding of what the dynamics of addiction really are all about. Because of this, everything is covert or secret. Consequently, the straight population does not know, nor would they even begin believe the things that go on in the under world of chemical dependency. It is a huge sub-culture that is sweeping America like an out-of-control forest fire leaving lives and families in total devastation. So, we have two different worlds in which people live their lives.
In the following pages there are some suggestions for how to bridge the extremely wide gap between these two completely different populations. The church and family members need to know how to help those who are trapped in the throngs of addiction without doing more harm than good. Somehow, these different realms must begin to learn something about one another so that true restoration and recovery can occur on both sides. The user inevitably leaves hundreds of hurting people in the wake of his or her quest for their drug of choice. Then, there is the other side of the coin. There are the family members or friends who have been repetitiously lied to, stolen from, and manipulated by the abusers who are sometimes just as wounded by a totally different set of issues. All too often, the loved ones of addicts have just thrown up their hands and walked away from them or kicked them out because of not knowing what to do or how to help. Then they stand on the sidelines and painfully watch their sons or daughters; their fathers or mothers; their brothers or sisters spiral downward until the end result becomes either incarceration or death.
Such is the story of Bob and Ann Wilson and their son Tom. Bob and Ann have been Christians all of their 41 years of marriage. They were in church almost every Sunday and raised their children to have the same belief system. Only recently were Bob and Ann forced to live out the nightmare of finding their 38 year-old son was heavily addicted to methamphetimine and had been for well over 13 years before they were even aware that such a thing even existed. They were oblivious about the drug world and thought Tom’s erratic behavior was coming from character flaws.
Tom, a former professional bull rider, started his use of ‘meth’ in order to keep up with the hectic schedule of owning and operating a dairy farm, which required hard and long hours without a break. Methamphetimine is speed and speed kept him going. Being an extraordinarily obsessive-compulsive personality, he took to the drug instantly and chased the dragon until the dragon himself finally turned and breathed fire through out the entire family from the grandparents down leaving nothing but ashes and pain when all was said and done. However, this is a one in a million story that has such an incredibly powerful ending that it must be told so that hope can be released to spread and possibly touch millions of lives in both worlds.
What has happened in the Wilson family can best be described as an obvious intervention of God. There is really no other explanation for how things that were so horrific for so long could turn out for such good so quickly. That doesn’t mean that scars are not still present, and some things won’t ever be the same as they were before drugs entered the scene. But God is at work healing even those. This book will help countless numbers of hurting parents as well as users to understand that enablers can kill addicts if they allow their negative consequence behavior to continue or support it in any manner. We hope to keep people who are in this trap from giving up and walking away simply because they do not know what to do. It is the combined prayer of Bob, Ann and Tom Wilson, as well as myself that this book of basic prevention and intervention principles will help solve some of the overwhelming drug problems that families are facing daily. We deeply desire that the pages become well worn as you study and learn. Enablers Can Kill Addicts is destined to become a useful tool kit for those in the snare of addiction and those who are forced to watch the destruction because of their enabling behavior.
Dr. Michael K. Haynes