Yesterday I drove by the high school and saw an old neighbor of mine (Shaun) walking on the road in front of it. I knew him when he was in high school, when he was a big shot with a nice new truck, lots of girlfriends, money, popularity and a bright future. He also smoked alot of weed. Yesterday (about 5 years later) he was walking to work at the local lumber mill. He was walking because the old car that he had been driving had broken down or because he got another drunk driving ticket. He now lives with his mom again. He has two children by different women, neither of whom he sees much. He still smokes alot of weed, and probably won't have his job long. They do random drug tests at the mill. It made me very very sad seeing him like that. He had chosen to walk on the road in front of the high school instead of on the sidewalk. I wondered about his choice. I wondered if he remembered those days when he seemed to have everything going his way. I wonder if he's embarassed at what he's become now. I wonder what he thinks his future might hold, or if he thinks of it at all.

I remember a conversation Shaun and I had about four years ago. I was pruning my roses in my yard and Shaun had just gotten busted for the first time for weed. I'm not sure how, but somehow Shaun had found out that I'm in recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism, and he came over to talk to me about options for him to get off crank and weed. He was really scared. He knew that he was smart and good looking and creative and that he could lose it all. He truly wanted to quit. We discussed options, and the bottom line to all of them was that it would be really hard for Shaun to do it by himself. I felt strongly that Shaun would need support and advice and help to kick and stay off drugs. He wanted to do it by himself. He tried...he tried really hard. It didn't work.

I drove up to Gold Beach to be there while a friend's son went to court. He's 18 and got a blow job from a 13 year old girl. He's being charged with Sodomy 2, which is a class B Felony and carries a mandatory sentence in Oregon of 6 years and 3 months. He was drunk and so was she. Three other guys were in court that day. One was accused of passing off counterfeit bills. He was drunk when he made and spent them. He's one of the best carpenters in town. One young man was charged with probation violation for passing a bad check to a towing company. He wrecked his car and needed to get it out of the ditch before any police officers came along. He was drunk when he did it. One guy...I'm not even sure what he was charged with. Basically he had been in and out of jail on various petty thefts, drunk driving tickets, driving while suspended tickets, and assaults for a long time. He used the excuse that he was always drunk when he did those things.

This isn't a lecture. I'm not preaching or trying to convince anyone of the evils of drugs and alcohol. I'm just sad because statistics show that only one out of ten people who try to quit drinking will do so successfully. I haven't drank or used drugs for over 13 years, so I'm counting myself as the one success. That means (statistically) that Shaun and Gordo and the sad 13 year old girl who gave blow jobs to all comers at a party and all those sad men in court will never get their lives together, because when they drink they do stupid stuff. Why have I made it (so far) and they didn't (yet)?

What can I do?