Tuesday, October 13, 2015


I was called into a local hospital by a drug counselor who said that there was an addict there "who asked for help." When I arrived at the counselor's office, he took me upstairs to the patient's room. I sat in a chair and the counselor tore off into a festival of rage at the young man for using and overdosing after he had promised promised! the counselor he would never use again.

The kid was in bed, urinating into a plastic bag, and being fed intravenously because his stomach as well as a few other organs had shut down. He was about twenty years old, skinny, sallow-faced, and patched up here and there with bandages, and could hardly stay awake. High on coke, he had gotten on his Harley, had a losing argument with a truck at an intersection, and had been defibrillated twice in the ambulance on the way to the hospital to keep him alive.

Finally the counselor stopped yelling at the kid, turned to me, and said, "Maybe you can do something with him." Then he stormed out of the room. It was pretty clear by then that the counselor and I had different definitions of "asking for help."

I asked the kid, "Do you think you have a problem with drugs?"

"No," he answered. "My only problem is the three thousand dollars I owe my dealer. Once I have that paid off, I'll be fine." Apparently his dealer was looking for him with a gun.

"Good luck," I said, then left the room.

The counselor wanted to know if that was the extent of the help I could offer. I answered that if that Mack Truck, peeing into a bag, being hit with the paddles twice, and being chased by a man with a gun hadn't convinced him he had a drug problem, what did he expect me to do? The only help I had to offer had and still has a prerequisite: as the venerable AA bumper sticker says: "You Gotta Wanna."

Three days after being released from the hospital, the young man mentioned above died from a drug overdose.

Got a drug problem? That's a very important question to answer correctly. If you have a drug problem, the right answer will open to you worlds of help and recovery, a rebirth into sanity and renewed membership in the human race. You'll go to meetings, work the Steps, get to know and be helped by some of the best people in the world. You'll get to become a human being.

Answer the question incorrectly, you get to go to other meetings but in either jail, insane asylum, or graveyard.

Had enough? Before answering that question, keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of active drug addicts land in either jails, institutions, or graveyards without allowing themselves to realize that their use of drugs was the problem, not the answer.

Have a great day, be good to yourself, and good luck.

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