Dear Ate B (Sister Asked; Benia Replies)

Dear Sis B, A Family Member Is A Drug – Addict, What Would I Do?

DearDear Sister,

May the peace of Christ be with you. And with your family.

Know that in spirit and in truth, I want to hug you and comfort you. Just the fact that you are asking me this question, tells me about your true concern for this family member. Know that every word that I will be sharing to you here comes from my own experience of forbearance, anger, frustration, hope, faith, forgiveness and love.

First, I want you to accept and cling to your love for this family member. That drug-addict is one of these: drug-addicted brother, drug-addicted father, drug-addicted cousin, drug-addicted sister, drug-addicted neighbour, drug-addicted uncle, drug-addicted classmate, drug-addicted childhood friend and the list of drug-addicts who are part of the family and community goes on. In short, drug-addiction is just part of a fact. The relationship that you have with this drug-addict completes that fact.

Let us refrain from detaching ourselves to them by calling them plain drug-addicts.

Every one should remember that a drug – addict didn’t come out to this earth alone. The drug-addict has relationships. Let us always remember our relationship with them. Without remembering that relationship, we will tend to be condemning, violent and unjust to them.

Secondly, I am so sure you that have not done this yet. Please do this, now, before it’s too late. In the midst of his “ecstatic”, “at peace” or “silent” condition or any non-violent condition, talk to your father. Let him know how much you love him and thank him for just being your father. Period. This person who seems to be helpless and hopeless is a family member and is resorting to drug-addiction as a form of escape. (We can dwell on another topic about drug-addiction as an escape but now let’s focus on your action plans.) If in any case, you can not do this due to distance, call him or write him a letter as soon as possible. If in any case, that hatred has already filled your heart, I want you to go back to number 1. Without letting that unconditional relationship that you have with him goes deep in your heart and mind, all your actions are rooted for your own good only (selfishness) and not for his beneficial change.

Thirdly, with the united decision of the rest of the family, bring him to a drug-rehabilitation institution. There are a lot of private institutions in the Philippines that cater to drug rehabilitation and I know it entails a lot of money. But you have to do it. If there will be any resistance from your drug-addicted family member, ask help from the institution where you intend to place him. They can help. (I am tempted to say to ask help from your nearest police station. But I don’t trust them… now. Specially that they receive “bounty” in exchange of their “cheap” police drug operations.) If your drug-addicted family member has been stealing, or committing crimes in your home, let your drug-addicted family member know that he needs to be rehabilitated or otherwise he will be put into jail. Most if not all drug-addicted people are scared of thought of jail and policemen. (So, that thought of “nanlaban/ physical resistance” is never a fact. They are scared and with trembling knees that they will willingly surrender to every police officer! (PLEASE LAH, I WILL NEVER BE FOOLED!)

It will take all emotions and determination to bring your drug-addicted family member to a drug-rehabilitation institution but it is possible. You need your entire family to be supportive of your plan because the tendency is the drug-addicted family member will beg not to be brought there and will promise that he will change. But remain firm and wise with the support of the united family of the resolution to heal him of the drug addiction. The drug rehabilitation program alone will not cure him. Participate in the activities or program. Visit him every week or more often. This is the best time to reconcile and let him clearly know that you will support his change of lifestyle. This is the best time to show your support, your love, so we he will be encouraged to continue his change.

Fourthly, after completing the program, ideally, do not allow him to return to the place or set of contacts who have been source of drugs. Make a change in where he lives or by this time, your drug-addicted family member will tell you where he prefers to live and maintain the new lifestyle that he has achieved. (If I were to be the President of the country, I would assign an island in the Philippines where the rehabilitated drug-dependents would live with freedom for 2-5 years after completing the 6 month – 1 year drug rehabilitation program, so they can start anew.)

Fifthly, it is our duty, too, to report to trusted police officers who are sources of drugs and pursue their punishment according to the law.

Most importantly, all these words of guidance will reduce to mere words if we don’t coupled our actions with prayers. Nothing is impossible with the Lord. Let us always remember that the Lord loves and died for the drug-dependents, too.

Please remain steadfast in your love. Perfect love drives out any fear, including fear to bring them to Jesus.

I will continue to pray for you, Sister. And your family.

Love and Beauty,

Benia

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