He was a star athlete in his high school days. Everyone in his family knew his potential was off the charts. He had learned great skills and was making an excellent income. By everyone’s …
He was a star athlete in his high school days. Everyone in his family knew his potential was off the charts. He had learned great skills and was making an excellent income. By everyone’s estimation, he was a responsible, outstanding person. He was handsome, fit, polite, smart, funny, financially stable, articulate, very positive, gracious, loving and committed to Biblical precepts more than most Christians his age. He had a supportive, loving and solid family. His future looked very promising.
I met him at a wedding. He was sharply dressed, fit and very polite. He seemed to be a leader amongst his peers. It appeared everyone respected and admired him.
At Christmastime, he was the one who decorated his parents’ home and motivated others to get in the spirit. At Thanksgiving time, he was one who led others in showing appreciation for each individual he knew. He was very emotional, and extremely caring toward others.
He liked to have a good time just like any other young man. Like a lot of young men, he took risks — unnecessary and unreasonable risks. A couple of summers ago, he decided to backflip off a speeding boat on a visit to Moses Lake. What he didn’t know was there was a sharp rock under the surface, too deep for the boat to hit, but close enough to the surface for his head to connect after he flipped into the water.
The doctors at the hospital said he had a severe concussion. They gave him stitches and narcotics. Scarred for life, and now on drugs never before in his system, that backflip would turn his whole world upside down.
His addiction began and continues. He lost his job and home, and went into rehab. In case you didn’t know, unless court-ordered, people can just walk out of rehab. So, when it became unbearable, he left.
He found a new job and a new place to live, but he stayed addicted. The addiction led to losing his new job and his new place to live. He found some temporary places, but his family and friends knew they were enabling a very bad habit. So, he lost those options.
Living in his car, working another new job, he became so desperate for his fentanyl fix, he let strangers borrow his car. (I’m uncertain on the details of how this happened, but I guess it was a deal for more drugs.) His car was not returned, but later found destroyed.
Several people have helped him with clothes, sleeping bags, etc., but each time he tries to work somewhere, people steal his things. He still lives outside in the cold. No home, extremely addicted, and feeling defeated and hopeless.
Thanksgiving is clearly happening, but he’s not in a good place. He’s struggling to be thankful. He’s so lost right now.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard much about fentanyl, but it’s a highly addictive and extremely potent drug. A large percentage of the supply which is on the streets is lethal. The experts say those on this drug will not get off it by themselves. They also say those on fentanyl who don’t get into rehab will not survive. In other words, experts say those addicted to fentanyl will likely die. In the United States it’s the number one killer of people aged 18 to 45.
This all started because of a foolish risk and subsequent prescriptions to medicine for pain. A young man — somebody’s son, brother, coworker, and friend is now homeless and feels hopeless. This Thanksgiving seems so bleak for him.
I recently learned his family has invited him home for their Thanksgiving meal. At least he has that positivity in his life for now. I’m guessing there will be some very crucial and hard conversations when they have him over. I’ve heard he’s considering going back to rehab, but I know since he’s not already in rehab, he still is dedicated to his addiction more than to overcoming it.
I can’t imagine how horrible his thoughts must be in sober moments. How did such a respectable, healthy, admirable, optimistic and outstanding individual wind up so lost, addicted and alone? Maybe that’s why he stays addicted. Reality just might be too hard to comprehend for him. I’m guessing it’s just too overwhelming.
I pray you have a great Thanksgiving. If you don’t have family or friends addicted to drugs or alcohol, then you certainly have that for which to be thankful. If you do, I hope and pray he or she finds resolution and overcomes it soon.
Please take a moment this Thanksgiving and pray for this acquaintance of mine and others like him who may or may not be celebrating with their family and dealing with uncomfortable things. I hope and pray they find their way back to where they belong soon. I hope and pray your Thanksgiving is blessed with many positive things, including outcomes.
Me? I’m grateful I know this young man and grateful to know his family is having him over for Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for my family even with all our own quirks. I’m thankful I live in a free country. I’m thankful my Lord Jesus died for me so I can live life on earth with peace, hope, and joy, and that I can look forward to an eternity beyond our dreams. I’m even grateful we get to celebrate Thanksgiving each year and have things for which to be thankful every single day.
May God bless you and yours this Thanksgiving week.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Pastor Jeff Adams is a longtime community leader, victim advocate, counselor and chaplain. He ministers internationally, nationally and locally. His column appears online periodically and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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