The Edge of the Addiction Cliff by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

In a Bible study, my group prayed for Ben, a 21-year-old heroin/meth addict who has been placed in a treatment center by his parents.  Ben, we were told, was a star baseball player.  At 6’6” and 250 pounds (plus owning a 93-mph fastball), scouts were showing an interest.  Two summers ago, while tossing haybales at his parent’s ranch, Ben felt something pop in his throwing arm.  The news was not good.  He would need Tommy John surgery.

Ben was told that it would be about two years before he would pitch again.  The opioid Oxycodone was prescribed, and Ben became addicted.  Fortunately, he was not one of the 130 people who die daily from an opioid-related overdose, but ultimately, that pain killer morphed into illegal drugs (not uncommon since 80% of heroin users begin with prescription pills).

For two years, tens of thousands of dollars were spent ineffectively on rehab facilities by the young man’s parents.  On his own, Ben took the first step to stop using drugs.  The improvement was so radical, his parents bought him his own house so he could get a fresh start.  Then he needed his wisdom teeth pulled.  Pain pills were prescribed, and Ben was hooked again, this time more than ever. His parents once again brought him to live in their home.

One night, Ben’s parents went to town for an evening out.  They took precautions, locking the keys to their second car in the safe.  When they returned, they found the safe had been pulled into the garage and their tractor was missing.  On a meth-high, Ben had been able to drag the safe next to the car, hoping the keys were close enough to start the vehicle.  When that failed, Ben drove the tractor to McDonalds, a few miles away.

Ben now weighs 155 pounds and calls his parents daily, begging them to remove him from the facility to which they have committed him.  I found myself grieving for the parents, as I have walked alongside two friends whose sons had chosen similar paths and had made those phone calls.  Some days, it was all the parents could do to drag themselves out of bed as their sadness would take on the same lifespan as their addict children. Some days, they enabled their addict child.  Some days, they drew a line in the sand and refused to help.

In the last year, I have sat with two mothers whose young adult children died from drug’s side effects.  One was suicide from drug-induced bipolar disorder and the other from drug-induced bulimia.  Their children’s torment has ended.  Theirs hasn’t.  In this life, it probably never will.

There are all types of addictions: cigarettes; alcohol; pornography; work; sex; caffeine; ministry (yes, even that); gambling; golf; the internet; shopping; approval of others; comfort foods; and video games, to name a few.  What keeps individuals pursuing these obsessions?

For one, life is tough.  Not a day goes by that we aren’t reminded that things aren’t as they should be.  Instead of accepting that perfection stopped in the Garden of Eden and won’t return again until Jesus comes back, these messy in-between years are expected to be something they can’t be.  We keep seeking answers, and instead of turning to God, we turn to behaviors which provide relief (albeit temporarily).

Isaiah 64:6 reminds us how close we all are to the edge of the addiction cliff when it says we all are unclean.  All of us.  So, we seek relief which can be found in one of two places: the Creator or the world.  Maybe it’s not drugs, but look at the inexhaustive list above.  Who of us hasn’t at one time or another sought to feel better by relying on something other than our Creator?  (My hand is raised here, thank you potato chips and dip.)

I write this article to ask you to pray for Ben and anyone else you know whose addictions have led down a road to destruction.  Pray for their families.  And pray for yourselves, should anything you do be one step closer to pulling you away from God and into the ways of the world.

2 thoughts on “The Edge of the Addiction Cliff by Patty LaRoche”

  1. Thank you, Patty, for this very timely article. God knows what we need. We are in the throes of helping my husbands nephew due to mental issues and drug addiction. We finally got him into a rehab facility in Florida yesterday. Addicts know just the right things to say. The gentleman that has helped us with our nephews placement told us that mental growth stops when they first take their choice of drugs. Our nephews addiction started at13. So many things makes sense now. Thank you for your prayers!

  2. When the morning news announces the people arrested, how many of us pray for them? Do we continue to pray when they return from rehab?

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