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Ethan's Potential Stolen Away By Addiction

by Ned Wicker

There was every reason to believe that Ethan was going to do well in life. He had a creative intelligence and an organized approach to his profession that enabled him to put together teams of people for his projects, and those projects were clearly high quality.

He had been valedictorian of his university class, and while others were dreaming of their “dream” job, Ethan was already sailing along.

Something Smoldering

As successful as he was, there was something smoldering under the surface and soon Ethan’s life began to unravel. When he was in college, his reputation for academic and professional excellence was topped only by his love for drinking and smoking pot. If there was a party, there was Ethan.

Once out of college and with his dream job already realized, his social life changed. It’s like he never moved on. People get out of school, get a job, maybe settle down and get married, but Ethan did not go that way. He did his job by day, then after work, it’s was like he was back in his college days.

The excessive use of alcohol and marijuana continued, but he began using other illegal substances. His job was not affected at first, and a couple of years after college, Ethan got married. It didn’t last long. She got the house, all of the furnishings and support payments after the divorce. Ethan had a nervous breakdown.

Ethan's life literally fell apart

His life came apart. Once the “golden boy” of his class, Ethan soon found himself unemployed. He talked about the politics in his profession, how there weren’t any good jobs out there, and always talked about the “good old days.” Ethan had a close relationship with his parents, but both died within two years of each other.
He had a brother, but after the death of his parents, they drifted apart. They were not close to begin with. His drug and alcohol use became the center of his life.

He received medication for depression, but never received treatment for his addiction. He would wash down his medication with alcohol. He was in complete denial.
When asked how he was, his stock answer was always, “I’m going great.” When a friend would express concern for him, Ethan would always answer “I’m fine, why are you asking me this?”

Bizarre Behavior

His behavior became bizarre, as he would get on his cell phone and call friends around the country late at night from the local tavern. He would plan lavish projects and try to pull everybody he knew into the plan. There was never any rhythm or reason to the plans, which were devised out of a drug-induced haze.

He would never find work in his profession again, but did find employment working on a loading dock. As he aged, he struggled and could not keep up with younger workers. He was injured one afternoon while toting a heavy bag and could not work again. He went on disability. He rationalized his situation by saying:

“This is the best time of my life. I can do what I want now.”

He lost his house, his car and was left with very little. Still, he denied any addiction. He lived alone, isolated from his old friends, without any new friends. His friends all encouraged him to seek treatment, but he was fine, nothing wrong. There was no family to look after him.

Even with an abundance of friends and family to support the addict, their denial of the situation can prevent treatment. When someone is alone and isolated, there is little that can be done to help. Ethan’s story is repeated so many times, every day, in every city and state.

Addiction robs people of their potential, their successes and their humanity. What might have been, what should have been, all too often has been swallowed, leaving only a crushed spirit behind.

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- Matthew 7:7-8

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