At breakfast this morning a friend reminded me of a story I had told him about 3-4 years ago concerning an encounter I had with convicted drug dealers that was serving time at the Lansing State Correctional Facility. I want to tell this story and take a minute to regress and go back in time to show everyone how prophetic this encounter was.
A friend at my work was having a boat dock built at a metal fabrication shop in Leavenworth, KS. At this shop they employed a number of men that were on a program of work release from the Lansing State Prison. I don't know the details about this program but they would be brought over on a bus each morning and they would work all day for this metal fabrication shop and then in the afternoon they would be loaded back on the bus and taken back to the prison.
During the construction of this dock I had the occasion to go up the shop and oversee some of the construction and the loading of the dock for transport. During this time I worked with a couple of men named Brad and Tim, they were welders and fabricators. I knew these guys were prisoners but they really seemed like just straight normal guys I'd be happy to work with every day. Smart, hardworking and conscientious were the words I use to describe them. I've worked in manufacturing for 35 years. 25 of those have been in supervision and management, so I usually am a pretty good judge of work and work ethic.
At first I was apprehensive working with these guys but that disappeared after about 2 hours. After a couple days I felt comfortable enough during a break to ask them why they were here doing this as prisoners. Both of them had similar stories. On the outside they were both business owners, one in construction and rehab of homes and another owned a trucking business. Both started using drugs then found that the money in dealing drugs was just so overwhelming that dealing overtook their legit businesses and became their life. Both wound up getting caught and they had some very interesting "lessons learned" they communicated to me but those will wait for another time. I want to focus on one particular thing they counseled me about.
I told them that my son was an addict. This was back when I just knew I/we (dad and mom)could fix this thing for him. This was just after he had just gotten into his first serious brush with the law. At that time all the promises were being made to quit by him, we were parenting fools, reading everything, sheltering, keeping him busy, taking him to AA and NA, going to Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. I told Brad and Tim this. They both kind of chuckled and told me good luck, with a smirk. They then explained how futile our actions would be.
Brad told me that if my son was one of the users he dealt to that we wouldn't stand a chance of helping him to stop using drugs. He explained that if my son had even one contact no matter if our son initiated the contact or Brad initiated it, he would have my son back using within a week no matter what we did. He explained a few of his methods, but the important thing of this story is that NO ONE has as much influence over an addict as his dealer or user friends. Both of these guys agreed, Dad didn't stand a chance against what they offered.
Of course at that time I heard him but I didn't listen to him, after all, I was Dad and I knew better. What a joke.
My belief is that when they decide to stop and if an addict does not give up completely every person in his life that was apart of his using (users or not) they have no hope of stopping their using and addiction.
Those two prisoners were very prophetic.