life

She Was a Beautiful Girl

“You are remarkably lucid for being high,” I said, noticing her pupils.

“Oh, yeah,” she said.  “I’m normal when I’m high.  It’s when I’m not high, when I’m desperate for a fix, that I act crazed.”

She was a college student, home for the summer, in for a free pregnancy test and very concerned about the effects of heroin on a fetus.

We both let out a sigh of relief when the test turned out negative.

“Where do you see yourself in ten years,” I asked.

“Between the heroin and the Hepatitis C, I’ll be dead in ten years,” she answered.

“What’s so great about heroin that you are willing to die for it?”

“It’s not that the heroin is so great, it’s that the withdrawal is so horrible.  It can take 18 months to get the effects out of your system.  I’ve been in rehab three times and it’s just too hard.  I won’t try again.”

She didn’t think she got the Hep C from a dirty heroin needle, she thought she contracted it from an unsanitary tattoo needle.  Her plan was to stay high until she died.  In the meantime she was in college studying interior design.

I asked her how a talented, intelligent girl from the ‘burbs, with a loving family, ended up addicted to heroin.

She said when she was in seventh grade she learned that marijuana is a gateway drug.  She didn’t believe it.  So she and her friends tried it.  Before long they got ahold of some that was laced with LSD.  From there it was a short progression to heroin.  And heroin is a powerful addiction. (As I told you in I Still Break Her Heart, when I was a social worker I saw moms choose heroin over their children every time.  Not because they loved heroin more, but because it takes that strong a hold.)

She said I could tell her story and I do.   I tell it often.

I usually ask for feedback after I speak to a group of kids.  What did you like?  What did you learn?  What was helpful?

Most of them say they liked the stories best.

True stories.  Cautionary tales.  From my years as a social worker and pregnancy center director.

It takes 25 years for the human brain to develop completely.  The last thing to develop is the ability to look ahead and understand the long term consequences of your actions.  That’s probably why they like the stories best.  It helps to know how things play out.

And that’s why God gave them parents, teachers, pastors, principals, coaches, mentors, big brothers and big sisters.

So tell your cautionary tales.  And if you don’t have any, tell mine.

Kids need to know.

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18 thoughts on “She Was a Beautiful Girl

  1. I was thrilled when I heard one of mine say, “I wanted to do coke again. But then I played the tape all the way to end. It wouldn’t end well. So I didn’t do coke again.” Now he doesn’t drink or drug.

    Learning to look ahead – to play the tape all the way to end – is a sign a wisdom and maturity. Until then, we have to tell them the rest of the story…and pray they listen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope my kids get that! My oldest daughter definitely made it great! But there are still two teenage boys. We can only try to expain and give them examples (like yours) and then hope they figure it out without being harmed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alma Mater says:

    Oh, this is so tragic! I think of the people I knew in my 20s, and I wonder where they are now. I wasn’t a heroin addict, but I hung out in circles where all kinds of drugs and self-hating behaviour were a norm. I just thank God for drawing me away from those paths. When I look at where my life is now, and where it was then, it is almost unbelievable. Only God’s grace. Christ can redeem anyone, and I am so humbled and gladdened that He chose me, for no redeeming quality on my part, but only because of His great mercy. I pray that He redeems those people I used to know, wallowing in misery and tragedy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Julie,

    I will be going on vacation for a couple of weeks soon and, so I don’t have to do any blogging while I’m gone, I would like to schedule some guest posts.

    I love what you do on your blog and would be honored if you’d allow me to feature something you’ve written, with credit and a link to your blog of course.

    Can be anything, something new, or a chance to revive and old favorite.

    Thanks in advance for considering. 

    God bless,

    James

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Miss Quoted says:

    The cautionary tales worked for me. I never, ever tried drugs, even marijuana. My father’s own story kept me from trying alcohol. My grandfather was only abusive when he was drunk.But he was drunk ALL the time. When he was drunk, he raped his own daughter and tried to kill my father. He told my grandmother that he would kill her if she ever tried to leave him. So when she did leave him back in 1940-something, she drove non-stop with four kids in an old Studebaker from one end of the country to the other. She never went back, and he never found her. My father is the only one of his siblings who isn’t an alcoholic. I know that alcoholism is in my blood–I don’t dare try it. Keep telling your stories. They do help!

    Liked by 1 person

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