God bless the “bad guy”
When it comes to delivering a message, or taking even the most appropriate and necessary action, nobody really likes to be the “bad guy.”
In the case of alcoholism and/or addiction, the “bad guy” is the one who takes action and intercedes on behalf of a friend or loved one. God bless the “bad guy,” who sees a problem, tries to help, and in so many cases may wind up saving a life. Addiction recovery almost always begins with a "bad guy".
A couple of years ago I was on-call at the emergency room of the hospital, I noticed a man getting out of his car in front of the door. He was in his early 40’s and very fit.
He had an athletic build and was muscular like a football player. He walked to the triage nurse and said he was seeking help for his friend. He explained that he had called his friend, but got no answer. Worried, he went over to his friend’s apartment and found him in a rundown physical stake.
The man brought his friend, “Jake” into the hospital. Jake was a mess. He smelled of alcohol and urine, and it was obvious he had not had any interest in taking care of himself. He probably weighed 130-140 pounds, but was nearly six feet tall. Skinny does not adequately describe him, as his bones stuck out and his dim, dark eyes were deep set in his face. He looked like someone coming out of a Nazi concentration camp.
As the medical team tended to Jake, his friend, “Scott” and I had a chat and he told me an amazing story. “Jake is an old friend. He used to be my training partner and believe it or not, he used to look like me,” Scott explained. “We used to do triathlons together and it wasn’t that long ago. But then I moved to another town and we sort of drifted apart. We talked on the phone, but I never expected this.”
He went on to explain that Jake didn’t want help, but agreed to a check-up, just to see if he was ill. After a while the nurse invited us into the examining room. The doctor said that Jake in trouble, that the disease was probably going to kill him unless there was something done to reverse the direction it was taking.
Jake by this time was sensing that the hospital staff wanted to keep him there. He didn’t want treatment, he didn’t want to stay and he became very angry and abusive. By this time Jake was not speaking to his friend, the “bad guy” who turned him in.
Jake was admitted and stayed a few days, as his friend contacted Jake’s family. I recall Jake’s father telling me that Scott was responsible for saving Jake’s life. His father was so grateful and expressing his feelings to me brought him to tears. Scott did save a life that day and allowed this situation to have a happy ending for now.
My sad life!
by Tim, in Ohio
I am 13. My mom and dad are addicts and they both went to prison a lot. I don't live with them now.
My uncle now is doing the same thing since my mom is out it feels like everyone i know and my friends know has somebody in their family that does heroin or died of it. Our house has been broken into four times by them or their friends to get dope.
I feel sorry for my grandparents because they are always causing problems for us and its hard to not to feel sorry for them and be mad at the same time i worry that I'm going to end up being a zombie like them someday. I hope not.
Why cant they stop it? I've lost my mom, dad, uncle and little brother so far and I'm only one person how many more people will i lose before it stops?
Our response to Tim:
Each of us make our own choices
You do have a sad life based on the decisions
others around you are making. The good news is that each of us has our
own life to live and our own choices and decisions to make.
I would like to recommend that you have your grandparents take you to meetings for Al-ateen. There are Al-ateen meetings in Ohio and they can help guide you on avoiding the terrible mistakes and pitfalls that your parents and others have made.
Drug and alcohol addiction does run in families and because both of your parents are addicted it will be VERY important that you avoid ANY alcohol or drug use because you are likely HIGHLY suspectable to abuse and addiction.
The more you learn about your parents addiction the more you can help them and you to avoid it. You have a long life ahead of you and with good decisions you can avoid the horrible consequences that your parents are experiencing.
Both of my parents made some bad decisions but I learned from their mistakes and am living a much better life than they did. It is possible if you get the information you need and learn to make smart choices and avoid the bad ones.