It's a Lush Life

The ability to remain sober and gracious is, indeed, a form of mild insanity.

Drug Dealers Break My Heart

When I showed up to rehab, I had a laundry list of resentments. Drug dealers were at the top of that list. In particular, my brother's drug dealers. I knew who some of them were, but I'm sure there were others that I didn't know and I hated them too.

You see, in recovery, you have to free yourself of resentments to stay sober.

Resentment is the number one offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else.

It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness.

For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.

These statements are excerpts from the Big Book. So, my counselor in rehab pointed out the following from the Big Book and asked me to try it...

"If you have resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don't really want it for them and your prayers are only words and you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it everyday for two weeks, and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate, understanding and love."

I'm sorry. What? You want me to pray for the people that I hold the most ill will towards? "Yes," my counselor says. "That is exactly what I want you to do."

The only part of this that made me the least bit willing was...Even when you don't really want it for them and your prayers are only words and you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway.

Well, okay. I was new to the praying least on any kind of regular basis. I bargained with God from time to time as a last resort kind of thing when I was in trouble on many occasions, but no real conversations with Him. I said on day one of rehab that I would at least be willing to do what they asked of me. They asked me to pray, so I did.

I prayed. I prayed for drug dealers. I hated a lot of other people. So, I prayed for them too. I even hated God, so I prayed for Him. Looking back, I am sure He got a real kick out of that one.

I didn't mean what I was saying. I really didn't. But I did it. I prayed for the people I hated most on a daily basis, even when they were just words.

I can't say that I started to mean what I was saying after two weeks...or even two months. But coming up on almost two years my attitude towards these people has most certainly changed. I am not sure when it happened, but it did. My heart for these people began to soften.

Love may be a little too strong to say I have those feelings for them. Compassion, yes. Because they are sick people. I don't hate them. I feel sad for them. I feel sad for the people that love them. Many of them have families...innocent children. They are all the sons or daughters of someone.

This has been easier to do with some more than others. It was about a year after my brother's death and four people were arrested on different charges for selling the drugs that that ended up in my brother's hands and took his life. I was actually sitting in a meeting when I got the news via text message from someone in my family. Hours later it was all over the local news. My dad was being interviewed at our home. News crews were all over our small town. People were blowing up my phone...some expressing concern and others wanting nothing more than the latest gossip.

That evening as I saw all four faces of the arrested drug dealers flash across my television, all I could do was cry. My brother's picture was next. That news cast brought back every single thing I had felt on April 22, 2012. The pain, the sadness, the anger, the hurt, the helplessness, the powerlessness of what had happened. On April 22, 2o12, I turned to alcohol for comfort. A year later I turned to God. The entire situation was sad for everyone involved. Anger and hate wasn't going to bring my brother back. So, I began to pray through the tears.

And so today...that is what I do. When anger and resentment show up, I first have to pause before I do or say something I regret. Then I pray. This is sometimes hard...and I can't say that I adhere perfectly. But when I do, the outcome is always better for everyone.

Every time I read or hear about someone dying from an overdose it breaks my heart in a completely different way than it used to before my brother died. I think about everyone involved. I think about the life of addiction and how sad and lonely the person must have been. I think about the family. And I think about the drug dealers.

It takes me back to sitting on a rocking chair outside my parents guest house on a cold and cloudy April Sunday afternoon...watching cars by the dozen of friends and family pull into our driveway. Later that evening when people started to leave, I went into the guest house where my brother had spent his last night. His shoes and jacket were laying beside the bed. His laptop was on the nightstand. I don't remember exactly what he had been looking at on the internet, but it was Yankees baseball stuff and Jay Z videos. I played a thousand different scenarios of what his last hours were like. Who he talked to...what he said...what they said. I wondered just how sad and lonely he was. to have been in the guest house alone with drugs. The police had taken his phone and the fentanly patches he had bought for the investigation, but I could almost replay in my head what his last hours were like. He was found lying on the bed asleep, as if he had just laid down to go to bed for the night after listening to Jay Z and looking up stuff on Yankees.

There are always so many questions that go through my head. Yesterday, when I read that Philip Seymour Hoffman had died from an overdose and was found in his bathroom floor with a needle in his arm, my heart broke.

I always wonder what the drug dealer(s) must be thinking or feeling when one of their clients dies? Often, addicts consider their dealers to be "friends." Was he a "friend" of Phillips? Did he care his "friend" was dead? Or was he just worried about himself? Did he care that the drugs he sold him killed him? Was the money he got from the sale worth someones life? Was he an addict too?  How many other people had overdosed and died from his sell? Will he continue to sell drugs? Will he get any sleep tonight?

You see, in my head, they have to care. How can you not care about human life? They must be sad, sick people.

I can honestly say that I pray for drug dealers daily. Hating them isn't going to change anything. Drinking over them would only be hurting me and the people that love me. So, I pray that they stop and get the help they need.  I pray for their arrest. I pray for the slaves in other countries who are part of the manufacturing. I pray for the people that support them. I pray for the addicts that buy from them. I pray for people closest to them to stop enabling them.

I can't pray for everything wrong in this world. So, what I do is ask God to break my heart for what breaks His. And nothing breaks my heart more than people living and dying addicted to drugs and alcohol. And I know it breaks God's heart too. That includes drug dealers.


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