He was both terrified at the thought of
leaving the facilities and impatient to have a life again.
He took to heart one of the main aspects of the program,
which was whatever is bothering you, whoever is bothering
you, however small and insignificant, please, please tell us
immediately. Your happiness and peace is very important to
us. Your recovery is #1 in our life. We will do anything to
help you get there. He became an avid complainer. It always
worked. This was his first taste in 6 years of wanting to
live his life in a certain way and having control over
something that was making this difficult or impossible. Of
all the things he devoured here, that one helped him to take
the biggest step. Control over his life control over crack.
While he put everything under a microscope, in every aspect
of his life, he began to separate the people around him.
Those who were not interested those who were weak and those
who 'might' make it. This was another mark off point for
him, seeing himself and seeing those around him just as they
really are. People in the program assured him continually
that his recovery was his recovery. Whatever program worked,
was the right one. Whatever people helped him, were the
right people. He was the free agent here who could design
and find exactly what he needed. He was OK. He did not have
to fit into an AA program.
He could find his own personal program. If someone
designated as help, and this person did not say things that
had meaning to him, he had the right to reject them and find
other people. In spite of this TLC, my son constantly
admired those counselors who also had, a you can not
bullshit me, I know all the moves tough and brutally honest,
and even a little cynical. He recognized this combination as
real tough love. The counselors did not spend a lot of time
on how lethal crack was, or how desperate the life of a
crack-head was. Most were pretty well aware of by now. There
were those there who did not want to know. The whys were
left to the individual to find and the what’s were stressed.
Not so much here is a list of how to's, but what could work
for you. In the midst of a monolithic mortally lethal
substance epidemic, with no road maps, were these brave
souls-the counselors and addicts were trying to find their
way out of the wilderness together. That is what made it
work. Together. Crack-heads do not need experts to write out
a program in stone. They need people to work with them
through this wilderness, pooling resources as if they were a
combat unit shedding real tears when one of them did not
make it. I studied his body language. I studied his words. I
studied his program and for the first time I was content.
I would not hook myself into making stone chiseled
proclamations. It would be 9 months out of the program
before any of us would say, "I think he is going to make
it". But I felt something shift in him. There was new grease
in the gears. He felt it too and there were days when he
knew positively that he could do it. And days when he was
terrified to be out there alone again. He wanted to leave
every day and get restarted on recapturing life again, but
he was terrified too. As though some monster from "Alien"
was out there looking for any organization of society to
eliminate, and it was just him and this slimy grotesque
animal to battle it out. He counted the days to his release
and clung more tightly to what was around him! It seemed
that no matter how strong he was, how armed, how padded,
there was still this terror of this monster out there. Was
he really strong enough, armed enough, and padded enough?
What was enough? It was the nightmare of all nightmares. It
was the creature of all creatures. AGAPE LOVE? It seems too
perfect a feat for me. Maybe a mini Agape Love was