Saturday, February 28, 2009

Reed Prior

Reed Prior was serving a life sentence for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Reed Prior received a commuted sentence from President George W. Bush on December 23, 2008, this month he was released. Sounds ominous doesn't it. For Reed Prior's life I hope not.

I was very moved reading "An Open Letter to Young People".{Please read the full story @ Cityview} I never used hard drugs. Oh sure, I tried Black Beauties in high school. They only made me very ill and my scalp feel like it was trying to crawl off my head. I tried weed, that just made me giggly, paranoid and crave a case of Hostess Ding Dongs. No, my drug of choice was alcohol, but what it did to me sounds much like how it affected Reed Prior. I still exhibit some of the tendencies to remove myself from the world and those around me. I pushed my family away, lost what few friends I had and left perfectly wonderful men who loved me before they had a chance to break my heart by leaving me.

"Living the life of a drug addict is an act of ultimate selfishness and of cowardice. Caring only for yourself and your drugs, you push away family, friends and the love of women, women whom you do really love. From a larger perspective, you alienate yourself from the society of which you are a part, to which you should naturally belong. You deny and evade your obligation and responsibility to others, to your community and to the world.

But, finally, you are alienated from yourself. You betray who and what you are as a person. You throw away the chance you have been given to do good, to help others, to be positive, to make things better in a way unique to you and your talents. Instead you cause sadness and pain. Instead of using your energy and your gifts, you hide them away. Instead of adding to the light, you help the darkness. You have not really mattered, although you could have.

Luckily, seven years ago, the law stepped in. Busted for my second DUI. Sentence, one week in jail or one week in-patient treatment and something like three months of out-patient treatment. I didn't chose jail. I am very glad I didn't, if I had I wouldn't have ever gotten sober and met Mark, a person that understands me more than I understand myself at times, but I am finding myself again one day at a time. I have a lot of years to catch up on since they say that mentally you stay the same age as when you started becoming an addict. I just hope I don't lose the feeling of being young. I feel like at my age there is a fine line between having maturity and being old. I may not have kids around to echo the sentiments I told my parents, but I do have twenty somethings telling me I wouldn't understand since I am not their age anymore. Guess what? Music changes, fashion changes, technology changes, but the feelings and problems, they never change. Just don't try to drive them away in alcohol or drugs. The feelings and problems are there for a reason. They are a part of what shapes you into being you in how you deal with or overcome them.

Another in my family struggled with addiction. In a weird, thankful sort of way I am glad that if it had to be, they did it young, found the help and the strength to over come it and moved on to enjoy the life stretched out in front of them. I have so much I want to say to them, but nothing comes. The words just dry up on my tongue or from my fingers. Unlike my tears. Gah, I am out of tissue from my crying jag last month.

Please read "An Open Letter to Young People" Pass it on to your children, your nieces and nephews. They will either chuck it on the trash or learn a little something from it. At least parts of it will stay with them to echo in their minds if they stray off the path and maybe it will save their lives.

1 comment:

ie said...

Hi Beth Ann. Nice post. I have been fortunate, I didn't get "the gene" myself, but lots around me did.

I had Reed as a teacher. He was a very good teacher. I ran into him at a party later, during what I'm sure was in the early years of his addiction madness. I could see he was losing control of his life and was saddened. I, too found the information on his victory and his letter to students on the web after Bush commuted his sentence and was happy to hear about his victories.

I'm glad you and Reed got the help you needed to get back on top. I'm thankful I did not have that battle myself but sorry I had to battle it with loved-ones around me. I battle the ramifications every day. It is a curse that affects families and individuals in so many ways, so deeply for so long. Getting the word out helps prevent tragedy--hopefully someone reading this gets the message and avoids the madness.