A few days ago, my granddaughter called me and we talked for several minutes. When we finished our conversation both of us were in tears.
She was tearful after recounting all her current problems. She has been living on the street for several weeks, before that in her car (which she says she has lost), and in cheap motel rooms. Further, she told me that she is dealing with a bladder infection, stomach problems, and bad headaches. The night before she called, she was on the street in a drenching rain and shivered all night trying to stay dry.
My granddaughter is an addict. She is an addict of every drug or substance you can name. Her sad decline has been gruesome to watch. This once beautiful young woman is now just struggling to stay alive.
My tears were not for her current situation. My tears were for her and the life she has given up for momentary highs and instant gratifications. No doubt, drugs and addictive substances have led to other problems such as jail time, thievery, and God only knows. In fact, I really do not want to know what.
Every now and then, I have sent some money to her in hope of helping her find a dry place to sleep, a good meal to eat, and some clean clothing, but my fear is that the money went to buy more drugs. Because of that, I am reluctant to send more money to her.
She told me she wants to get out of the drug culture, but the environment she is in keeps her in there. Rehabilitation is her goal; nevertheless, she has gone through rehabilitation before and the result was only temporary relief. The rehabilitation programs are too brief and the counselors are less than well prepared to deal with full range of human emotions and health matters.
The truly sad part of all this is that I am a retired mental health professional and a retired Episcopal priest. In my careers, I have been with several young people as they dealt with and work to recover from their addictions. Most have been successful and even started new families and careers. However, I have not been able to do anything for her.
The matter seems to me to be that in her decline there were so many people willing to help her find the bottom and now there is no one to give her a boost. That someone must be a person with strength and is daily present in her life. I am not near her; I live hundreds of miles away and now my physical strength is waning.
All I can do is listen, tell her I will love her no matter, and that she is my granddaughter and in my heart. She reminds me of the stories by Jeannette Walls in The Class Castle. She finds some good in those stories of shiftlessness, homelessness, and alcoholism. My hope is that my granddaughter too will emerge from all of her self-imposed misery clear-headed, healthy, and ready to live a full and productive life. That is my prayer.
Prayer only helps if the person praying believes there is power in it. I have prayed for her for a long time, and I continue to believe that somehow, some way, the power of prayer will make a difference.
As an aside, I recommend Walls’ Half Broke Horses.