Kevin Bell

A Life Lesson I Learned From A Meth Addict

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We pulled the car up to the curb on the side of a busy road, my partner and I both look out to the passenger side at the two heads we saw bobbing around in the cloud of smoke.

We walked up and stood there in silence directly behind Smokey and the bandit.

Still, they didn’t notice us there. One of the dudes grabs the meth pipe from his buddy, takes a hit and blows another smoke cloud up in the air.

He looks to the side and catches the sight of us out of the corner of his eye and double takes…

“Didn’t know the cops were standing behind you huh?”. I said with a smirk.

He responded with some mumbles.

We walked around to face the duo. These two are what we call frequent flyers. Or Regulars.

Always cooperative. Always respectful. But still always out here in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sometimes the situation calls for max enforcement. And sometimes it calls for a heart-to-heart.

Police work operates on a spectrum from one situation to the next.

Based on the totality of the circumstances, you’re training and experience, and a slew of other factors, the way we handle a scenario might change.

Today, the scenario called for a therapy session… whether they wanted it or not.

I pulled puff the magic dragon aside and spoke with him man to man.

Now this wasn’t just some dude. I’ve been dealing with this guy for the past two years. The revolving door of cities, arrests, and resources offered hasn’t seemed to make a dent in his addiction.

He’s deep in it and can’t pull himself out. Not to mention he’s homeless and the streets don’t help the situation.

Shelter didn’t stick and rehab worked for about 5min post release.

I needed a different approach today.

“Brother, what would it take for you to get sober?”

I could tell he didn’t like that question, but I asked it anyway and expected a response.

We stared at each other for a little longer than comfortable to see who’d look away first.

He did.

I pressed some more.

“What keeps you wanting to be high? Is it that you’re afraid of being sober?”

He looked down and didn’t look back up.

Keeping his gaze on the ground he responded-

“When I’m sober, I feel all the pain. I feel anxious, uneasy, and paranoid…”

There was a long pause

“…When I’m high, I actually feel normal. I’ve been using it so long that THIS is my normal. I feel cool, calm and my mind feels right.”

His eyes welled up with tears as if right then, in that moment, recalling a pain he’d been masking for a long time.

Most of us don’t want to hear the truth. We’re afraid of the truth. And when we’re forced to talk about the truth, it’s scary. Often times painful and uncomfortable.

The outcome of this interaction isn’t the point of the story. It wasn’t the first interaction like this and it won’t be the last.

The breakthrough came in the form of raw, real emotions he expressed. The pain point I hit with him and his willingness to be vulnerable with me.

This isn’t a situation that most experience on a daily basis unless you make your living driving a black-and-white. But the foundation of this scenario is something that most of us know all too well.

We run from pain. We hide from discomfort. We avoid loss.

In psychology, it’s called “loss aversion”

The PAIN of losing something is twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining something.

We all have the fight or flight in us and want to survive and thrive as long as we can, but at what point does this deeply rooted fear and avoidance of pain actually cause more damage than good?

It did in this case.

It started small with one vice to mask the initial pain. That was a bandaid on a gunshot wound and only held for so long.

He moved on to the next vice by putting some duct tape on there. Again, not effective long term.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

I don’t want to sit in pain and discomfort anymore than the next person, but sometimes we have to.

Sometimes that’s what will actually take us out of it and callus our minds for when we experience something even more painful.

Life is not easy. Pain is inevitable.

It is up to us how we want to face that pain.

Let it consume you and pull you down its deep dark hole of addiction.

Or take it head-on and embrace it? …knowing that from pain, we grow stronger.

#Success #life lessons