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Public Enemy Number One
Public enemy number one used to be “Bonnie and Clyde”, “Baby Face Nelson” or one of a number of other infamous criminals. Today, something else has taken their place…alcohol and illegal drugs.
Everywhere you turn there are warnings about the dangers associated with them. Although these efforts have met with some success, they have failed to stem the tide. The only real solution lies within the individual abuser. They must honestly admit they are an abuser, addicted, and no longer in control of their life.
I have no qualms about those taking an occasional social drink and I don’t belong to any temperance league advocating total abstinence. It’s the alcoholic and addicted “junkie” which concerns me.
I once had a good friend. He was a strong, vibrant man full of life with everything going for him. He had a steady job, nice home and people who cared about him.
This individual worked and played hard. After a long, difficult day he and a few friends would stop off for a few drinks to unwind before going home. There was nothing wrong about that. However, these after hour stops became more and more frequent and he began to getting home later and later.
Eventually, it carried over into his working day. He began drinking at lunch. Of course, it wasn’t long before he was fired. I had warned him of the possible consequences but he didn’t listen. He had believed he was to “valuable” to the company to be fired.
As his best friend, I approached his supervisor and finally convinced him to give the man one more chance. But the problem continued and he was promptly fired again. He could no longer control his drinking and actually didn’t want to work any longer.
That’s what drugs and alcohol do to a person. It robs them of any desire to get ahead or better them self. Their abuse fills them with a false warm sense of security and blinds them to the harsh reality of life. In other words, it becomes an escape mechanism. They want to run from life instead of facing it.
Without a job or place to stay his clothes soon became ragged, his appearance unkempt. With alcohol on his breath he was turned down time and time again for every job interview I had lined up for him.
Time passed and his situation became worse. He was admitted to a hospital and treated for delirium tremors, “DT’s”. He also suffered muscle spasms, alcoholic seizures and hallucinations. All classic withdrawal symptoms. Still he refused to admit he was powerless and under the complete domination of alcohol. The lure and temptation was too great.
Finally, I had to admit defeat. I couldn’t help someone who refused to help them self.
I run into him from time to time and I’ll ask how he’s faring. He’s not hard to find. He’s usually loitering on a street corner along with other down and out individuals like himself just letting life pass him by. Sometimes I’ll slip him a few dollars for “old times’ sake”, although I know what he will do with it. I wish him well and continue on with my own life.
Some readers may be wondering how I know what it’s like, or what gives me the right to be so harsh and judgmental. The answer is simple. I’m a recovered alcoholic…with over ten years of sobriety.
The person in this story was my best friend. He eventually graduated to hard drugs and was shot and killed in a drug deal gone sour.