This is a personal story I wrote many years ago. But as I re-read it, I thought the raw story might be helpful to some folks today. This is Part 2 of 3. Part 1 ran yesterday. Part 3 will follow on Friday.
SOLO DETOX is what it amounts to. My brother decided to stop all drugs the Sunday afternoon his ex-wife and her new husband came to pick up the kids.
Chuck had spent the weekend with his 10-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter.
Chuck told me the couple tried to sell him marijuana in front of the children.
“I never, I never did anything when I had my kids! I ended up kicking them out of the house.”
But as he sat there alone, he said he realized he was no better than they were. Just more secretive.
That’s when he scraped up every drug he could find and flushed it all.
“I poured my whiskey down the john. I dumped out a gram and a half of coke [enough for six uses]. I dumped my speed out, and I dumped all of my herb. I flushed it. I stood there and watched it go down. And, like a fool, I thought that would be the end of it.”
He said he felt good about what he did. And though he couldn’t get any sleep that night, he thought a hard day of work the next day would leave him exhausted enough to sleep.
Instead, a day away from drugs left him with a desperate craving and in the first stages of withdrawal.
“I remember that Monday after work. I literally ran into my house. I cracked the door getting in, I was in such a hurry. I beelined it to the bathroom, hoping I had dropped something. I remember cussing myself out standing in front of the john, and crying because I flushed everything I had.”
By Wednesday he knew he needed help.
At work he pulled aside the leader of his unit and told him he was going through withdrawal and that after his weekend with the kids he planned to admit himself to a hospital that treats alcoholics and drug abusers.
After work Chuck went to Mom in Dad’s to wash some laundry. His eyes were red from crying. His body trembled. It was obvious to Mom something was terribly wrong.
“Nothing is wrong,” Chuck replied. “I just got some things on my mind.” He turned and looked out the door.
She stepped up behind him, rested her hand on his shoulder, and asked again.
“I just started crying. I told her, ‘Mom, I’m going to have to go away for a while. I’m having withdrawal really bad right now.’
“She cried a little bit, then said, ‘You want Dad and me to take you to the hospital?’ I told her no, I had to wait until after the weekend. I get the kids. She said, ‘You’re not going to be any good to them, not like this. We’ll take care of them.’”
Thursday was payday. And Chuck said he suddenly realized if he didn’t get help before then, he would use the money to buy drugs to stop the roaring beneath his skin.
For a ride to the hospital he called his friend, Ron, a former alcoholic and drug abuser who had gone through detox more than a year earlier and had remained clean, with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous.
While Chuck made the call, Mom went in the living room to tell Dad. Dad, still weak from the effects of radiation treatment in a bout with cancer, sat quietly in the recliner while Mom broke the news.
“His face turned white,” Mom said. “He look was like it was the end of the road. I said, ‘Dad, don’t feel like that. I’ve been praying for this for a long time.’”
Chuck sat in the kitchen, too ashamed to face his Dad. Mom came out to her boy. “She said, ‘Tell your dad you love him and that everything will be okay,’” Chuck said. “And I went in. Dad had a tear coming down his face. I reached over and gave him a hug. I told him, ‘Dad, I’m sorry. I will be okay. You pray for me. Next time you see me I’ll be straight.’”
Weeks before, Chuck had started attending another church in the area – the church another brother of ours had started attending. Chuck told me he knew he needed help, and he needed to be around good people. He told the pastor of this problem. And though the pastor was genuinely concerned and supportive, he was at a loss for words. He said he would pray for my brother.
As Chuck left for a month- long stay in the hospital, he asked Mom to have our brother pass along a message to the pastor. “Tell the preacher I haven’t given up. I’ll be back.”
Mom said she stared out the door long after her boy and his friend had left for the hospital. In those moments a verse of the Bible tumbled out of her memory. Psalms 138:8. “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me (KJV).
Detox in the Hospital
Chuck spent a sleepless night in his room with two other addicts.
Mom tossed and turned as well. “You’d think I would’ve prayed that God would make it easy on him,” she said. “But I asked the Lord to make it hard enough that he’ll always remember it and not want to go back to it again.”
For five days Chuck fought the pangs of withdrawal in detox. It would have taken longer accept he had started his own detox several days before. During the remainder of his 28 days in the hospital he kept busy with counseling, group discussion, education films on the effects of drugs, and meetings of support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
He said his most haunting memory during that time was on his first Sunday there. Sunday is family day. It’s the only day friends and family can visit. He wasn’t ready to see his children, but he watched as the family of a fellow patient arrived.
“He had a little girl, about 11, and a little boy who couldn’t have been 7. I remember the boy. He picked the boy up. And the boy was hugging and kissing him and he asked his dad, ‘Daddy, let the smell your breath.’ The boy just wanted to see if his dad was clean.
“When it was time to go, I remember the little boy just clinging to his dad. And then the boy started crying. They had to pry his fingers loose. The little girl said, ‘Dad, we’ll be here when you get out. And then we can start over.’”
That night Chuck went into the bathroom long after the lights were out. In there, crying, was the father. Chuck talked with a man. He said, “You got a chance to get your family back. All the pain you put them through, they’re still there for you.”