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.
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