“Great news! We have heard from my son. He is in jail.”
Apparently many people find the juxtaposition of those phrases incongruous. But such is my world.
The good news has many faces.
He is alive. For the foreseeable future he will not join the awful ranks of those swept away by the fentanyl/carfentanil tsunami.
Being in jail means that he will have a chance to detox, get on methadone and then wean himself off that drug. He will also have regular access to food and a warm and dry place to sleep. And he knows how to survive in jail. All positive.
Because of the so-called war on drugs - which has proved a boon to the criminal drug empires - and the decision to treat drug addiction as a legal rather than a mental health issue he, like the majority of opiate users, has resorted to criminal activity to feed the addiction.
And for those actions he will have to serve time. (I have many problems with the larger system but not with the immediate consequences.)
The good news is that jail - for lack of better options - provides him the opportunity to Reset. And, if past experience is any indication, he uses the time to do so.
Physically he eats, gains weight, exercises. He reports that jail can be spirit crushing but often he turns to reading as many good books as we can get him, letter writing and re-calibrating his long term goals and plans.
The short term transitions following jail are the most problematic. Places to live that combine accountability, mentoring and safety are just a few of the supports needed to turn a life around.
Ironic, that life transformation should arise at this time when so much popular musing offers easy advice about the setting and keeping of resolutions for change - better food, more exercise, quality relationships.
I know what it takes to modify even one of my habits, such as changing the quantity and quality of my food choices.
Determining which person’s challenges are most imposing is not a contest but, still, it feels as if my son’s quest for new life is more biblical in its scope. The changes he desires are not Coke or Pepsi choices but those for which the outcome will, in reality, be life or death.
Of the many things I admire about my son is his willingness to give the struggle for a different life one more try.
One of the realities he uncovered during the months he was clean was that he stands in the lineage of the great Sioux warrior Crazy Horse.
He will need both the deep spiritual practices and the courage of his ancestor.
And he, I and the rest of our family appreciate and rely upon your prayers. For the battle crosses many dimensions.