Take Care –
Yesterday, during my second lecture at a Rehabilitation Center, a young man challenged me about the ideas and skills I was teaching about getting and staying clean of alcohol and drugs. It started as fidgeting in his seat and then he couldn’t keep his thoughts quiet! He mumbled something out loud and I heard but didn’t understand. I looked at him and asked him what he said. I was interested in a dialogue but he was only interested in telling me how wrong I was about addicts and the ongoing journey to sobriety.
I was careful not to feel attacked nor make him feel on the defensive as I tried to help him understand why what I was saying was true. Others in the group started speaking up and telling the young man he needed to listen. I thanked the others for their support but asked them to let me speak to him so he wouldn’t feel the group of forty or so guys was against him. Unfortunately, the young man was done speaking and listening. My last words to him were; “I’d really like to talk to you about this after we’re done with the lecture.” He put his head down and when we were done he rushed out of the room. I looked for him as I was leaving but couldn’t find him.
This was the young man’s first time in a Rehab Center. He was struggling with admitting he was an addict, putting his past behind him, coming to grips with the truth that addiction is a life long battle. His thoughts, I am sure, swirled between surrender and control, acceptance and resistance, freedom and slavery.
People who have lived with addiction will tell you that the temptation to use begins in the mind, subtle thoughts start gnawing at you and soon, if they are not checked, you are neck-deep in things you said you’d never do again.
Wisdom teaches us that our thoughts and our words are to be guarded zealously for from them springs our destiny.
I overheard the agonizing call of a young man who wanted to leave, escape, get as far from his present predicament as he could today. His voice was loud, hoarse and broken.
I was sitting with one of the men I mentor in the County Jail. Even though we sat in another section of the commons area we couldn’t help but overhear the tear filled appeal of the caller whom was pleading with whoever was on the other end. However, no matter what he said, apparently the receiver of the call was not able or willing to get him out.
As I listened to his cries for rescue, thoughts of moments, times, seasons of being trapped in a place I didn’t want to be flooded my mind. Some were of my choosing, others thrust upon me but prayers, pleas, screams and whispers of injustice and escape seemingly went unheard.
Life can be incredibly harsh and relentless. We beat ourselves against the walls of our prison or the cells of others longing to be free. Deliverance comes in many forms just as bondage and slavery can exist without chains and metal bars.