I am feeling scared. Feeling completely inadequate. Lacking sufficient knowledge to even begin to know what to do to help Christie save her life.
When I found out that Christie was coming, my plan was to love and encourage her. Give her a place to stay until she got back on her feet. Show her that I care. Build her back up. I’m really good at that sort of thing. And I thought that would be enough to make everything ok. That was my plan. But I was naïve. She was worse than I had expected when she showed up at my house on Saturday night. Much worse. And my plan flew right out the window when I saw her.
Christie is an addict. There’s just no way to sugar coat that. And while loving and encouraging her will be important, it’s not going to be enough. Not even close. And I have no backup plan. Absolutely nothing.
I find myself feeling the same scared and inadequate feeling that I felt a couple of months ago when a teenage boy needed my help. He was with a big group of summer campers who came for dinner one night at the dining hall. The campers were being loud and silly, as teenagers will be when they are in a large group and away from their parents. I was at the cashier stand, and first noticed him when he left the group he was with and went into a side room of the dining hall. He was jumping up and down and making strange noises. None of his friends seemed to notice as they went on out of the dining hall.
I didn’t know that something was wrong until this boy starting coming toward me, still jumping up and down and making strange noises. It was then that I realized that he was choking. He couldn’t breathe. He was jumping up and down, trying to get whatever was caught in his throat to come up. He had a terrified and panicked look on his face. He ran toward me and started throwing up, while still choking and unable to breathe. I went around behind him and tried to position myself to do the Heimlich maneuver, but he was much taller than me and I had no idea how to make it work. I tried hitting him on the back like I had done my children when they got choked, but it didn’t help. About that time, the boy feel to his knees, threw up some more, and was finally able to get a breath of air. He stayed there on the ground for several minutes trying to recover as I helped clean him up and reassure him that everything was going to be ok.
I thank God that He helped this boy. Because I was absolutely no help at all. I have taken CPR and life saving classes. I have been taught what to do in case someone chokes. I thought that I was prepared for something like that. But I was wrong.
Day one consisted mainly of Christie sleeping. I woke her up to eat lunch, and then again for dinner. Other than that, she slept. Which I believe is good. Her body needs to heal. Her mind needs to heal. Her soul needs to heal.
Christie had willingly given me her phone the night she arrived. I hid it from her in a safe place in case she changed her mind. It rang all through the night with calls from her friends trying to pull her back in. Calls from other addicts. Tweaking in the middle of the night. Unable to sleep and wanting her there with them. Her phone was still ringing when I threw it away this morning. Christie won’t need that number any more. Turns out the phone was stolen anyway.
Today was day two, and it was pretty much the same. Lots of sleeping. Only getting up to eat. Except that Christie was awake for a little while longer tonight before she went back to bed. And she said that she has started craving a fix. And she is depressed. Both of which are to be expected. But it worries me. I have done everything that I know to do to keep her safe. But what if it’s not enough. What if I can’t keep her safe from herself. From her addiction.
And then, as I sat here writing, it suddenly hit me. There is no doubt that I will do everything within my power to help save Christie. I will show her how much I love her and will encourage her. I will give her a bed to rest her exhausted body, and will give her food to help make her strong again. I will make every effort to keep her safe. But, like with the boy who was choking, I know that I am not prepared. There is no plan. And that’s when I pray that God will once again step in. And save a life. Save Christie’s life.
After finishing her dinner tonight, Christie asked if I had something sweet she could eat. Maybe something chocolate. That made me so happy that I started laughing. And Christie smiled and laughed as she ate the chocolate cupcake I handed her. It’s a baby step for sure. But definitely in the right direction.