June 29

A student called me last night on his way to rehab. Unfortunately, it’s not his first time going. I was hopeful that he was back on track; he had been clean for about six months up until a few weeks ago. He was doing well in school and at his student campus job. You’d never guess he was struggling to keep his life in check. It just goes to show you that everyone has a story and you can’t always tell what it is by appearances. By looks alone, he would seem to be one of the fortunate ones: good-looking, intelligent, talented, well-liked. But as is so often the case, looks are deceiving. He confided in me the first time we met; he wanted me to know that he was trying to get his life back on track. He had gone away to school, got into trouble with drugs and alcohol, and came back home to have some accountability. The first semester he was at school here, he did well. The next semester he dropped out to detox. He came back and did well. Now he’s out again. It’s a cycle that must be exhausting and incredibly difficult. And not just for him. His mother called me today. She wanted to make sure he had alerted me that he wouldn’t be back on campus for a while. We had talked the last time he dropped out, and she cried then just as she did today. She couldn’t hide the sadness and anger as we talked about the disappointment in seeing him this way when he has so much going for him. And how frustrating it is knowing that regardless of all of us wanting and trying to help, the battle is his. Ultimately, he has to find it within himself to stay on the path of recovery. I’ve never struggled myself with an addiction, but I know it’s a constant battle, especially when there’s someone in your life who keeps trying to drag you back into it. For him, it’s an old girlfriend who won’t let go. Who doesn’t see the need for him to stay clean. Who, even when he tries to escape her influence, somehow finds him and gets him to slide back into his old ways. My heart breaks for him and his mother. He’s only in his early twenties, but they’ve already been through so much. I hope this time is the one that works. Today I’m thankful he knew he needed to get help.

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