A teachable moment: the drug situation

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I’ve been waiting to write this for some time. I just didn’t know how to address it until I received an e-mail from our son. I have been appalled at the drug situation.

Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana; now the government wants to make us an example for other states to follow. They are encouraging banks to loan money and make it a viable business. What are they thinking? We are going to be a doped up society.

We keep hearing about young people dying. It’s stirring up other situations and trouble. People are losing their jobs because they can’t pass a drug test, they are driving under the influence and stealing to keep up with their habit. There is nothing good coming from these recreational drugs. It leads to cocaine and heroin. Our young people have been sold a bag of goods. They are getting mixed signals. They think it’s OK because it’s legal.

My son-in-law says the people voted it in, and therefore the people in charge are dealing with what they’ve been dealt.

I say, I didn’t vote it in and I don’t like it. I think the powers-to-be who lead this community should make choices for our wellbeing. Instead of worrying about places to sell recreational drugs or collecting taxes and making revenue for our county, why are they not fighting to get these drugs out of this county? They are robbing our young people of their potential. If you say I don’t know what I’m talking about, I assure you I do.

I painted an oil painting 30 years ago of a father and son and his dog standing under a tree. It was titled “A Teachable Moment.” I painted it during the darkest time of our lives, when our son starting using recreational drugs and pulled away from the family. We lost our voice in our son’s life and that teachable moment when he should have been learning about life, instead of deadening his emotions toward dealing with things.

We didn’t know it then, because Al and I were too naïve to think it would happen to one of our children. We just knew our 15-year-old son was angry and withdrew from us. He blamed us for everything and caused havoc at every turn. He went to the streets of Albuquerque at 16. It was almost a relief for him to be out of our house. But our clean-cut, beautiful blond hair boy with all of his potential went to the gutters of Albuquerque and we didn’t have any say. He was out from our authority.

Later, when we found out he was on cocaine, I begged him to stop. I told him every time he took drugs he was killing his brain cells.

He said to me, “I love cocaine. I’m not stopping.” The drug dealers were in management in the company he worked for. They were supplying him. I told him I was blowing the whistle on them and going to the police. He begged me not to for fear of what they would do.

Al and I went to the Cocaine Anonymous meetings. Our son wouldn’t go, but we had to find out how to help him and deal with it. We learned a lot, but it didn’t change our son. I prayed until I didn’t have a prayer left in me. It didn’t seem to do any good.

Fifteen years later, at 30 years of age, he said he woke up and looked in the mirror and said to himself, “I want more than what I have right now.” He said that God did it; he liked cocaine too much and he didn’t have the power to get out of that addiction, but he said God took the craving away from him.

He took the first step of moving away from Albuquerque and the lifestyle he was in. He made very good money, but he was in debt up to his eyeballs because it was all going up his nose. He transferred to the home office of the company he worked for. All to say, it was a hard road for him, but he pulled out of the dark hole he dug for himself.

He confessed later that every time he took cocaine he prayed to God that he wouldn’t die. He said that he could have died with an overdose so many times. He said he should’ve been dead. It was only God’s grace that we weren’t attending our son’s funeral. Not like Al’s brother, who is still grieving over his son’s needless death because of an overdose. He left two teenage daughters with the pain.

I received an e-mail from our son. He said, “I have everything I want, but I just want to be loved. I always mess up relationships. I deadened my feelings all of those years by using drugs, now I’m beginning to feel again.”

This was one of those teachable moments that I wished for back when he was 16. He pulled away from the people who loved him, and he missed those years of growing up.

Now at 45, he’s crying out for love. He called himself stupid. I told him it’s not stupid, but it is the human cry in everyone’s heart to be loved. He’s just beginning to feel again. It was that teachable moment when a 45 year old man came home like a little boy crying to his mother.

Final brushstroke: If you think you’re functioning just fine under the influence of drugs, you aren’t. Our son could hold down a job and did fine at work, even moved up in his company. He fooled us for many years and fooled himself. He lost his youth. He says today his teens and 20s are just a blur. Now he’s dealing with a broken heart.

We need to wake up and smell the coffee. Every time I hear something that the powers-to-be say in The SUN, it sounds ridiculous. Apparently they have never had a child on drugs? I’d like to tell them, don’t coddle and pet this thing, we’ve got to fight it. It’s taking the life of our children.

Readers’ comments

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This story was posted on February 27, 2014.

One Response to A teachable moment: the drug situation

  1. Johnny

    February 28, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Your son had a coke problem not weed, weed is natural, not even prescription drugs are