Monday, November 29, 2004
Agape Love; unconditional love, a perfect feat of balance. Not just a state of mind, but a state of doing. One we often dream of obtaining. One, we can easily assume we live in naturally. Seems most of us do not get the opportunity to practice it.
I stumbled unaware into it. At the time I was so absorbed in the terror and desperation of events, surrounding my crack-head son. Agape Love as a motivation or end result was not even on my mind. Long after the experience, one day while deep into a discussion about my hairdresser’s relationship with his alcoholic father, and my past six years with my crack-head son, he remarked with a tinge of awe and envy, “You have Agape Love for your son”!
from "Agape Love" by Marilyn Forney (Lyon)
Treatment programs have attempted to deal with this, not expanding the cookie cutter to include users and abusers, but by trying to classify all clients as if they are latter-stage alcohol addicts, using standard treatment methods developed for this group. This has not worked well. Now the field faces a need to develop alternative strategies to work with diverse types of addicts and to go beyond the generic treatment methods used with classic gamma alcoholics. It is time to face the challenge of treating the crack addict...the person, not the addiction. A clients total abstinence from drugs does not necessarily mean that the chemical dependency treatment has been successful. Successful recovery involves adequate functioning in daily life. Abstinence is a precursor to functionality, not a substitute for it. Don't impose a treatment on the client. Offer a choice of options. This gives the client a sense of control, even while under direction. Practice and believe in empathy. It is still the leading factor in productive therapeutic relationships. Not long ago, a film entitled "Disease Concept of Alcoholism" was routinely shown in treatment programs in the United States. In this film, a strong argument for the disease concept was presented by a physician who alluded to biochemical research on alcoholism. It was claimed that the brain of an alcoholic is different from that of a nonalcoholic. The alcoholic brain allegedly generates THIQs, which increase a person's compulsion to drink beverage alcohol. Even rats who hate to have a drink will crave booze when injected with these THIQs and THQs, by-products of alcohol metabolism. A frequent interpretation of this film by counselors is that it proves that the etiology of alcoholism is strictly biochemical, hence, is an uncontrollable disease in which the victim or society plays no role in development. This can be a counterproductive assumption because it minimizes the interactive social, cultural, psychological and developmental factors that contribute to the prevalence of a disease. My optimism for controlling this addiction may seem to contradict the Twelve-Step program belief that crack addicts are powerless over crack and alcoholics are powerless over alcohol. It does not conflict. Crack addicts are powerful over crack, but not their addiction to crack. By controlling their drugging, by learned abstinence, the addicts do have power over the addiction. This is the Twelve-Step approach, a Zen paradox: The best way to become strong over crack addiction is to allow yourself to be weak. The best way to become addiction free is to allow yourself to be an addict. from Crack: Treating Cocaine Addiction...by George Medzerian PH.D.
HSI/TAB Books TAB Books is a division of McGraw-Hill, Inc.
Questions regarding content address to: Human Services Institute, Inc PO Box 14610 Bradenton, Fla
Conquering crack-cocaine does not involve just the user. It starts with you obtaining knowledge and transforming that into power over how crack-cocaine has entered your life. Then we plant a seed of hope and lovingly from a distance nurture it. While contaminated, a user does not believe that there is any way out. We need to eliminate all the ways this person gets access to money. Never put money in the hands of a person possessed by crack-cocaine, not even a penny. You may have to be drastic, like sleeping with a purse or wallet in a plastic bag for a noise alarm to keep money away from the hands of a crack-head. Leave your valuables in a safe box or at someone else’s house. Camille had to do these type of things long enough to get a grip on the situation so a plan can be executed. Are there pop cans lying around? Take them in yourself. It only takes $5.00 to get going on crack-cocaine again. Get a storage place and store all things that could be sold or pawned for money to get crack-cocaine. Have pay checks direct deposited into an account he or she does not have access to, this is not an option! If a crack-head says they want help, they probably do. A sure fire way to see if this is real, is to direct deposit without exception. If this one simple thing is not complied to or agreed to, then the time is not right for them to quit. At this point YOUR survival is first. When they hit below bottom again or are in jail, they will cry for help again. Same thing then. Drastic measures for a drastic situation! If they need food you go buy the food and give it to them. You can pack them a lunch. Absolutely no money. Find a local food pantry through a church or program. If they need clothes, you can buy them and then cut the inside label off and write their name on the inside collar and you KEEP the receipt so it can not be returned for money. If it is possible and they are working, arrange to drive them or find someone to do it or buy a monthly bus pass so they can get to work only. The bus pass is only to look for a job or to get to a job. If they are looking, the names and times need to be on paper and verified. Your conversations should be limited to conquering crack-cocaine. Nothing else matters. When he or she begs for money say NO! Practice saying NO. If they are being evicted give them the address to a local shelter if you are not able for some reason to have them in your home because they cannot be trusted yet. Print out pages from our website and give it to them for a present instead of material things. Todd's father bought him a gravestone and coffin for Christmas. Is this being mean? NO it is being real because crack-cocaine does and will kill. Sometimes having tougher than tough love is needed to get that window open. Some people have to leave, some divorce, others have their children taken away. Many have to have protective services or the police called just to open that window. You have to fight crack-cocaine with all your might. Sitting around worrying gets you nothing. Driving around looking for that person gets you nothing but out of gas. They will be back when they have exhausted all means of money or they are physically unable to continue. Pray to God for their safe return so you can continue the fight. There does come a point of deciding to let go. How do you know when that time comes? When your loved one shows no signs of progressing in the process of conquering crack-cocaine. Progress could be as sad as they brought back $20.00 of their paycheck instead of nothing. The progress may be a little micro dust mite, but any and all progress is a sign to continue. When all progress stops, then yes there does come a time to let that person go. That does not mean that it can’t happen at a later time, but it means you might have to move on in hopes they will get to the point of desiring progress again, or needing it. The fact is, that some people never get there and crack cocaine kills. Crack cocaine is draining and exhausting. We are living proof that it is worth the fight.
We get a lot of questions on when do I trust again? Trust is earned not given. You give trust a little at a time until that person proves his or her trust ability. Little droplets of trust at first and that does not even begin until they have at least 75 days clean and are showing signs of progress. Camille let me carry money only when she was with me, for example: when we went out to eat, Camille would let me hold the money and pay for the meal so I felt better in front of others, but the minute we got in the car I had to give back what was left, and it better add up. Keeping your loved one connected to the real world is very important to their ability to form positive self-esteem again. Having birthday parties, Christmas, family gatherings, taking them to church even if they just got high, going to a movie, buying a hamburger etc… normal events of everyday life. Share new ideas you learn or read about. These things need to take place even if you have to drop them off back in their crack-infested neighborhood. Keeping in touch is a way of planting seeds of hope. Remember how your loved one use to be? Maybe you can help them get there again. It is possible. Crack-cocaine can be conquered! This takes a team participation. Those in your family who wish not to participate, might have to step aside for a while.
Expose crack! Tell everyone you know that your loved one is possessed by crack-cocaine. It does not matter who knows. The more you expose crack-cocaine the less power it has on you or your loved one. Camille even told the grocery clerks about it and gave the manager a picture and told them Todd is possessed by crack-cocaine and may try to cash a bad check here. You know what? They did call when Todd tried to do this. Camille would tell local police, neighbors all family members, our pastor, EVERYONE she came in contact with and it worked! Crack-Todd started to lose power and My-Todd started to show up again as the man we knew he is! Crack-Todd could not go anywhere in the area we lived in without Camille finding out. So SPEAK! This is your life and your loved ones soul you are fighting for. Embarrassment never gets you to a crack-free life, but taking control does. Tom Petty has a song that has a line in it that goes, “I'm taking control of my life, right now!”. So can you. So can your loved one.
We know crack-cocaine can be conquered. We are here to help anyone through the process. When we went through this we had very little help. Our goal is to reach as many people as we can. We are not here to debate programs and whether they work or not. We are here to share our beliefs, uphold them and share any and all ways that allowed Todd and I to conquer crack-cocaine.
Todd and Camille