Sunday, March 15, 2015

Book #11: Moments of Clarity

I bought this book while listening to Christopher Kennedy Lawford's keynote address at a conference on addiction at Utah Valley University a few weeks ago. (Seriously, wifi access is not helpful when one has a compulsion to buy books.)

I decided to read it this week after seeing a comment a friend of a friend made on a Facebook thread. He was tired of any of his hard-earned money going to help addicts.

"Let them die," he wrote.

I don't know this guy's story. Maybe he's experienced some real trauma due to someone's addiction, maybe even his own.

Or maybe he's just an ass.

Whatever the context, I find it impossible to reconcile those three words with the conversations I've had over the past few years with literally thousands of people who struggle with substance abuse or other addictions.

Real human people.

I get to talk with most of them when they are clear headed, and while it's true that many of them will go more rounds in the justice system, I see so much intelligence, humor, talent, spiritual sensitivity, and compassion.

Real human people.

Lawford said during his keynote address that part of his mission with his writing, speaking, and advocacy is to change perceptions about addiction, and particularly about people in recovery. Yes.

Moments of Clarity contains, in their own words, more than 40 stories about the turning points some of his friends and acquaintances experienced that led to their sobriety. All of them were unique, but they had similar underlying arcs:

(1) painful hopelessness became tentative hope became true and even joyful surrender to hope and

(2) self centeredness, often rooted in anger or fear, became self awareness became self respect.

In his story, actor Malachy McCourt said, "out of all this, the greatest achievement was finding self worth. That's the greatest thing, finding out that I really deserve to live."

Let them die, Mr. Friend of a Friend? Not in my book.

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. 
-- Ernest Hemingway.


Folklady's Adventure said...

Miss Margy - Two important things happened last week. First, Scott says this is one of the best, most real, books written on addiction.
Point 1 - serving at a rehab facility, one of the women in last week's group said, "You treat us normal." Wow - very telling.
Point 2 - at yesterday's worship service, a man told the story of the boy throwing Sea Stars back into the water, being told that he couldn't make a difference. The man said, "We are throwing ourselves back into the water. What we are doing here will make a difference in our lives. We are saving ourselves."
Live, live, live -
Thank you for sharing - R

Anonymous said...

I have so many family members who struggle with addiction. In the end, it killed my brother and my father, and they were worth saving. It isn't a path anyone chooses, and no one knows when they start down a certain path that it will lead to addiction. They need help and love, not death sentences.