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Discussion Starter #1
I was at a friends' daughter's birthday/graduation party last night and ran into someone (a friend's husband) who I used to know and hadn't seen for awhile. We were all part of a group of friends in our twenties and thirties (well, still today too). At the end of the 90's, he went off the deep end, I don't know how else to describe it. Started drinking too much and was depressed (don't know which came first), then cocaine, then became a crack addict. First he was able to hide this and then it just became obvious. His wife threw him out especially since she was concerned for their young daughter. His family through him out because of his behaviour and his wife helped get him into rehab and he ended up in Florida for a few years. When he was there, it was the sorts of situations and behaviours that you would expect with an addict.

After several relapses, he has been sober for a few years now (maybe about 6 years). He is living with his older sister and has been working in a minimum wage job for some time. He is now trying to find a better job, maybe get back into the sciences (biotech or pharma). I just don't know how he will do it especially because he does have an arrest record for a single arrest in Florida. So that would always come up in a background check. Never mind having to explain his resume.

I guess since last night I have been thinking, how do you come back from something like that? I just can't even imagine. I was just wondering if other people had stories and experiences with a situation like this.
 

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I don't know....I often wonder the same thing.
My good friend's sister is a habitual shoplifter and has a felony on her record now because of it. She lost her very well paying well respected job and cannot find anyone that will employ her. It has been over a year and she has been relying on her mother to get by..
where do you go from there?

I think you just hope that someone will give you a small chance to get your life back in order.

Gosh, it is so scary to think about. I hope your old friend can get that chance.
 

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I think you just hope that someone will give you a small chance to get your life back in order.
Yes that's what I'm thinking too. I was also thinking that he may be unrealistic about getting into biotech or pharma. Maybe look for another type of work or try to get a job at a small company where the owner is there and has some discretion on who they hire and who they might take a chance on.
 

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I don't know how (or if) you come back from something like that. How terribly sad.

One of the partners at my old firm is a genuine homeless person now. He was very successful, then started with a drinking problem. This was followed in quick succession by a divorce, remarriage, another divorce, then a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. He doesn't take his meds. Every once in awhile, one of us will see him walking around downtown. Shopping cart and everything. There's nothing that anyone can do. Another partner in our firm had him work on a per diem basis for a couple of tax seasons to give him a leg up, but it didn't work out by the end of the second season - his illness made him too unpredictable and frankly a little scary. We're all just an untreated mental illness away from homelessness.
 

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Yes, my friend was homeless also for awhile. He also had a drug related stroke that he had to work his way back from, as well as a pile of debt.
 

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I will ponder this with you. Just some random thoughts I've had over the years.

I think "What were the "drivers" that took them to rock bottom?" The drug addict, the alcoholic, the mental/emotional/physical abuser. Rigorous therapy may take them away from the immediate and recognizable problem, but what about the underlying causes for those problems?

The substance abuser no longer abuses the substance but that crutch has been replaced by (say) verbal or emotional abuse. What drives that?

The once brilliant (name a profession) is now wasted and can't even remotely consider living by the talents he/she once had. Nor do they really want to.

A man I once knew, a Nam vet who lost his legs in combat, returned to "normal" life as a lawyer. I no longer remember what type of law he practiced. But he once told me that many times men (more often men than women) who have led high profile lives, exciting lives, such as decorated military veterans, professional athletes, and are past performing in these roles view their lives as over. They can never again capture the headlines or spot light, they are just regular people in the regular world, and this is NOT what they groomed themselves for. Regularness.

So, they stop living so to speak. Take up an abusive habit, either upon themselves or other people, to escape the terrible dailiness of their regular lives. They cling to their past glories, their past successes and achievements, and can not move one single step into the future.

I think it takes an incredible amount of love and acceptance from the people around them to sort of usher them into, and guide them through, the real world of mundane and regular functioning.

I probably have some more thoughts on this but I'll pause for now.
 

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I suppose you trust your higher power to make things happen for you, when youre ready.
And hope that maybe someone who understands or has "been there done that" hires you.
I hope he is able to get his life back.
 
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Hard work. Don't hide the arrest. Explain it BEFORE it comes up on a background check. Prove yourself dependable by being dependable. Don't waste time feeling sorry for yourself; realize that what is in the past is in the past, you did it to yourself through your own bad choices, but now it is time to choose differently.
 

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He has definitely become more religious after going through this. Also he had recently applied for a job was going to be hired, did bring up his arrest before the background check, and didn't get it. Obsidian, you're right. He is working on this. My question was more of a philosophical one. I just can't imagine having to do it.
 

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Well I haven't ever told anyone other than close family and friends this before. But here goes...(don't put me in the snarky thread!LOL! ;) )
My brother is 45 and is going through exactly what you described. He has had problems with alcohol and drug addictions since he was 12. (More recently it was crank and crystal meth) He has been kicked out of the state of Ga., has a 28 year old son that he never sees, he was committed to an "state facility" last year for most of the year after trying to kill himself 12 times in a 9 month period. This last bout with crank was the beginning of 06. He was already diagnosed with depression and anxiety and the chemicals in the drugs interfered even more with the chemicals in the brain and now he's a bipolar 2, agoraphobic(afraid to leave the house), severe anxiety, and mild schizophrenic. He's been through so much over the past year. He's been clean for 12 months now. He's living in a halfway house with 4 other people who have the same problems he does. His agoraphobia is finally to the point to where he has a part time job. Granted he's not running his own restaurant like he did 4 years ago, he's cleaning toilets at a rest area for minimum wage. He says on top of the illness it's a big blow to the ego and I can only imagine how rough that is. He can't take any meds for the anxiety because they are addictive and since he has an addictive personality they prefer him to try to handle it through therapy. So far so good. My mom is 74 and lives in the same town as him. (Up until Jan she still worked 40 hours a week so she was by no means an invalid and can help him out at times.) I told him how proud I was of him and that he's come a long way. He says he just has to take it day by day. He can't plan anything too far in advance or he starts worrying and having panic attacks. He has found God again for which I am completely grateful for, and he says he's not giving up or ever touching drugs again because he never wants to be in that place again. The sad part is that my moms family (I don't claim them anymore after this) have completely abandoned my brother. They see him as a black spot on the family image and want no part of him or my mom anymore. Which being a military wife I'm 1300 miles away and can't do anything about that for him but I don't talk to them anymore either. I am so completely proud of this guy you can't even imagine. He was sooo down this last time. But he's coming back to us now as the person we know he can be and he's going to be going back to take his last two credit classes he needs to get his degree in computer science. I'm sure any thoughts and prayers you could spare would be greatly appreciated. At this point he could use all he can get.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Vicki, sending good thoughts for your brother. I hope he continues on this path. I loved it when you said "But he's coming back to us now as the person we know he can be". I hope my friend continues on the same path, too.
 
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Vicki

That is such an inspiring story. It's not always easy to love people - it's not always easy to love your family, but more often than not it's the right thing to do. You're a loyal sister.

My best to brother - hope he's able to get those last 2 credits completed and get his degree.
 

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Vicki, hats off to your brother for the battle he is fighting. That has to be a horrible fight and it is one ha mainly has to do alone. I am so glad he came back to God (thank You, Lord!) and I hope he uses his faith to see him through. Prayers that he wins the battle and gets his credits, too.
 
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Vicki, thoughts, prayers and congrats to your brother. It's been a long road and he's still got some to go.

I posted in the jail thread, but my brother has been a bit down the same road as yours. A car wreck at 16 that nearly killed him sent him careening down a path that I can't even type out here. He had survivor's guilt and a head injury and I have a suspicion he's Bipolar 1 but the head injury kind of throws a curveball in there too. He's done every drug under the sun, and finally at 21 got busted for theft. Found out at 22 he had a 2 year old son...and at 27 is JUST now able to get his life together enough to have gotten an auto tech degree and be an ASE certified mechanic. Our family has been through the ringer - my dad being a cop and watching his son go through the wrong side of the justice system has been particularly brutal. We've stuck it out though. Coming out the other side has been a blessing.

The question about how you get your life back? Slowly. Very slowly. Two steps forward and one step back. If he doesn't have a degree he needs to get one, or at least some certifications in something to help him get an edge on the competition. He's not going to be able to jump right back into biotech or pharma...rebuilding his resume by getting back into an office job (office services - mailroom maybe), there are services out there that help recovering addicts get back into mainstream life by getting jobs. Salvation Army may be able to help. I can't remember who else does things like that. I know there are programs out there though.

Best of luck to him. It's unfortunate but true...once you slip that far down it is incredibly hard to get people to trust you again. I hope he's able to find someone that will give him a shot - and then he's able to capitalize on it.
 

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My brother was at rock bottom a few years ago. He was on meth and crank. Surprised he didn't kill himself. My dad and myself took him in and got him help. He lost everything. Well.....anyway he is now working with the company I am at as a mechanic. He is doing absolutely wonderful. He doesn't drink or do any sort of drugs. I must say it took the support of his family. He was also willing to admit to his problem and get allow for some help. He is only 38 and no kids thank god. We are very proud of him. My boss is wonderful to him and very proud of him as well. Treats him great and is paying him well! He is truly a success story.
 
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