The other day I said in a blog that I don't have sympathy with fools, drug addicts and do good liberals. One reader, I don't know his name for he used a yahoo.com email and initials only, complained bitterly that I "obviously do not understand what drug addicts go through."
Well he is right, I don't get it and don't give a (you know what) either. I have never had a drug or any substance abuse problem in my life. Yes, in my police days I drank more than what was good for me but I soon stopped drinking altogether. We all drank in those days as do most young people, it is only a phase but mind you, we also saw and did things which would make most run for a bottle. If interested, you can read the Mean Streets Series which is as good a book on life in the South African Police Force in the 1980s as any. There is, however, one of my ramblings, which download more than any other. It is called "The Drug Addict Pattern."
This is a sad subject and I would have preferred it not to download this much, for it indicates the extent of the problem of drug abuse and I include other abuses like alcohol in this definition. Through the years, as a policeman, lawyer and later forensic law expert, I noticed a pattern in drug abuse. There is always one and they always do the same things. It is very easy, once you know the pattern, to spot it. That is exactly what this book is about. It deals with the pattern of drug abuse. What to take note of when your child suddenly "loses" his cell phone once a week or acts in a strangely aggressive manner (personality changes / mood swings). In fact, he is selling the phone for drug money and gets his mood swings because the fix is running out. Obviously most moms and dads will never believe such things about their child. It is teenage crap they say, or just a rebellious phase. Well, I hope so for you part.
How did it come that I know something of the subject? It so happens that many of my clients are also friends. Yes, highly unprofessional of me and the first thing you learn in law school. Never become too close to a client. It will affect your judgment they say (it won't) but I can tell you what it will affect - your ability to become obnoxious when your fees are not paid. That is the real reason for "professional distance" but such things are not said in polite society. Old lawyers will also tell you they walk out to see what car the client drives so their fee can be adjusted upwards. I thank our Lord every day that I am not a practising lawyer any more. It is such rules which make it a particularly nasty work environment.
Point is though I have seen what the parents and loved ones like the wife, my clients, go through when Johnny becomes a coke sniffer. These are good people, make no mistake and they do not deserve such a child or husband. My sympathies are with the loved ones who have to see this and are almost powerless to do anything about it but they don't know that yet. The first rule of love is never to do anything which will hurt the other half. To break this rule shows contempt, a lack of dignity and an extremely selfish attitude. This also describes the drug addict perfectly; he will do whatever it takes to get that fix and the devil with the rest. Your tears will not stop him. Nor will any common sense talk about the dangers of drug use. He knows, this is proven in research; that he is doing wrong, that it will destroy him and despite that, he will carry on.
So where do we get involved, or used to, for I flatly refuse these days except to give fatherly advice, is when he starts abusing his parents for money. He will sell their stuff - in law that is called stealing or theft but how can a parent ask the police to arrest a child? He will cry, he will make false promises and he will ruin them financially in the end. Then his horrible addict dealer mates will come after them for his drug debts. Yes, I saw this and a lot more. It is in the book.
What can you do about such behaviour? The book is not about treating the drug addict. There are many thousands of do-gooders out there, who for a considerable fee will help him or say they will. Fact is, unless he wants to be helped, he will always fall back and guess what, he will always be a druggie from now on. Yes he may stop using the drug but that just means he is now a recovering addict. The word "addict" will never leave him and he simply can never be trusted again and you always have to look for the pattern where he is concerned. That means, if you have money, a very strictly controlled Trust giving him small amounts of money only after your death. Otherwise he will be tempted to go down that road again and your inheritance will kill him.
We found the small Church orientated, yes the curse word of the long haired liberals, rehab centres works the best. Their services are free and they are not what can be said polite society and look like hooligans. Most are ex-drug addicts themselves and they are the ones you should go to for help. Stay away from the expensive "look how great we are" type of places. They are a commercial venture and not about helping.
Secondly, you put your foot down to save your own sanity. Note again, I am not talking about the drug addict who everyone feels sorry for, except me it seems. My degrees and experience is in Law and Law Enforcement and I am in no way qualified to treat him even if I wanted to, which I don't. My sympathy and expertise is the parents and loved one who needs protection. In law, we discuss this in the book; you have the legal right to search his room and his computer, if you bought it, and expect him to behave in a proper manner. That includes urine tests for drugs and he cannot refuse to take it, you can force him to do so. Of course he will refuse, and he will use every known psychological trick on you to make you feel it is your fault that he has such weaknesses in life. Even your community and family will blame you as being a thoroughly bad parent or wife. Listen to me, it is nonsense, he made his choices, he does not care because he is selfish and on another planet. No matter how sorry he is afterwards, tomorrow, he will do the same and you cannot help him, he must help himself. Legally, where he is the husband and spending all your money on drugs, you can approach the court to take away his right to abuse the estate. It is not difficult and any decent lawyer can help you.
Seen in the light of the above and my published views, I must plead guilty and subject myself to the mercy of my readers. Most who would fully understand my views for I get hundreds of letters from readers across the world thanking me for helping them to cope. I do feel less than nothing for the addict who I consider already dead. I only worry about his parents and the consequences of his actions. It is also noteworthy that I also said in the book, do not stop loving you child or loved one, I get that he is your son and may be your soul. But he needs to help himself and you need to be protected.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a practicing commercial law attorney for eight years. He also wrote several books on business, law, counter terrorism and security issues. He is a widower and lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa.