I have a confession. I have an addiction and I have to go back to prison to fix it. I will be fingerprinted within the week.
My addiction started innocently enough (don’t they all?). I just went into a youth prison to do an art camp. In and out baby! Simple. Done. One time. That’s all I told myself. “I will do this just one time. I can do this just once.”
What I didn’t plan on was my friend inviting me to go back and check up on two of the boys that had stood out to me at the art camp. Note to self: Friends can lead you down twisted paths if you’re not careful.
So I went for a second time. One more time can’t hurt anything, right? I’ve got it under control. I can handle this heart of mine. Just one more innocent time. No one will get hooked. I’m fine.
One of Websters definitions for addiction is, “Compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.”
I am having well-defined symptoms of withdrawal.
Like the image I can’t shake of leaving the dorm after spending hours sitting on a hard cement floor chatting about…anything…with the boys. The guard came and unlocked the door so we could leave. It locked tight behind us. We got maybe 10 yards away when there was a loud knock on the doors window. We turned around to see one of the boys smiling face waving goodbye.
How do I come clean from THAT?
Sorry, I had to go get a tissue.
I’m shaken… still. Haunted by an image and a very real sound that was directed at me. KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK…WAVE…smile…KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK (I’m locked in and can’t get out)…
What do I do with that?
I tried a placebo. Because I like knowing what words really mean, here again is Websters definition. A placebo is “usually a pharmacologically inert preparation prescribed more for the mental relief of the patient than for its actual effect on a disorder.”
So, I wrote a letter. Actually, I wrote 2. If one is good for mental relief isn’t 2 better? I wrote the boys. I shared a Scripture with both. I told them I hoped to come back soon. I encouraged them not to lose hope. I hugged the letters, prayed over them and dropped them at the post office.
I included a self address stamped envelop. Not with my address, but with One Hearts address. I still have this under control. Losing control would be to get too personal, too involved. I can handle this! I’m good.
However, I found myself at training last night. Texas Youth Correctional Volunteer Training. I KNOW. I should have stayed away. I brought another friend with me; she’s willing to do it! It can’t be THAT bad if others are all doing it. I have to go get fingerprinted next. Then I get a badge. Then I can go whenever I want during visiting hours.
See….that’s the issue. I can choose to go alone now. When others join in it’s called social use. But there’s a whole other level when I choose to do this privately. That’s when I know I’ve crossed a line. That’s when I know I am fully addicted to a thing called mentoring.
I find myself mentally figuring out when I can get away for half a day and not be missed by my own family. I’m planning, preparing, devising and plotting.
“Oh God, Help me!!!! This is NOT what I asked for!!!!”
Ssshhhhh…honestly…between you and me, I don’t want to give it up. In fact, I want to dive in more.
The placebo didn’t work.
I’m bringing my addiction into the light.
Wanna join me friend? I’d be happy to show you the way down the twisted road.