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FIRST-PERSON: Alcohol and drug abuse ‘not worth the price’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Both of us have tasted the bitter fruits of drug abuse. We have been there and wish we had not. And we would proclaim to anyone, “It’s not worth the price you have to pay!”

But you can never back up and erase your mistakes. All you can do is do the very best with what is left of your life.

The long list of deadly costs that accrue from the drug scene seems endless. Every day we hear a new sad story of one who didn’t make it back.

Those who wander aimlessly and hopelessly through gnawing addictions until death overtakes their paths occasionally confide to friends their desires to get well, but their will to overcome is not sufficient. For them, hope is nowhere to be found.

Some receive second chances, but refuse to avail themselves of an opportunity at redemption. Either the rock bottom to which they journeyed was not serious enough, or there existed an irrational sense of invincibility.

There are other wanderers who seem to maintain a semblance of control over life for a while, even though their deadly habits daily take them near abysses from which there is no return. They constantly claim to have no problems, and certainly no addictions. But their unhappy habits do not disappear, and they only wait for a loss of job, family illness or some seemingly insurmountable problem to propel them into the land from which it is so difficult to return.

For those who choose to leave the misery of that dark world, there is most often no easy way out of the self-made prison. At best, it is a long, hard road back, and the way is full of obstacles and seemingly unbearable pain. But, for these, there is at least hope. They struggle with the sincere prayer that they will one day be recovered from their addictions and that they truly will be overcomers by the grace of God.

As their minds begin to clear ever so slowly, they begin to recognize the heavy toll their choices have exacted from them and from so many innocent people around them.

Recently a caring mother shared a letter written by her addicted daughter who had struggled with the monster cocaine.

“Dear Cocaine,

I haven’t seen you in 26 days. I’m sure you miss me very much. We spent a lot of time together, you and I, every day for many years. I know it was hard to say goodbye. Believe me, I felt the pain… . Knowing you cost me everything I ever had. I became a stranger to my family. I became a stranger to myself. I became a liar, a cheat, a thief, a prostitute and a con artist. I became an addict. You took my life and ran with it. You took my money, my self-respect, my ambition, my career, my generosity, my kindness, my honesty, my morals, my values, my dignity, my principles, my friends and my family… . I loved you so much. I loved you more than anyone or anything including myself and God… . I lied for you and stole from loved ones so that we could be together… . I gave you hundreds of thousands of dollars, yet it was never enough. I took you to parties and gave you to my friends. I even shared you with my sister. You repaid me by trying to kill her three times. I can’t forgive you for that, but she has. I may not associate with you anymore, but for the rest of my days I will be labeled because of you… . Not a fair trade, considering all I gave you.”
(Name withheld)

Her mother expressed in the accompanying letter “the pain and heartache of seeing a young 27-year-old woman — educated, beautiful and loved — suffer such pain is more than anyone can imagine!” She confided that her daughter hoped that her agonizing experiences would help someone else going through the same struggle. This cocaine addict’s battle was continuing, buoyed by her mother’s prayers that she would eventually overcome her relentless pursuer.

Our plea to all who face these potentially devastating choices is, “Please don’t ever get started down that tragic road. The price is too much to pay!” Many who travel as far as we did never come back.
Stone, of Durham, N.C., has walked across America three times during his longtime campaign against alcohol and drug abuse, with logistical support from Barber. They are coauthors of two new books, “Hope the One Who Hurts” and “Hope for the One Who Cares,” available at LifeWay Christian Stores across the country.

    About the Author

  • Ted G. Stone & Philip D. Barber