Your heart rate is increasing, and stomach feels like it’s in knots. You think of all the families that you passed on your way in, scrabbling around to get to the right room, waiting to catch a glimpse of a loved one that has been absent from home. The look of all those that are sitting in the rows waiting to either learn their fate or the fate of a loved one. For some it is a mother, father, sibling or friend trying to hold all the emotions in. For some they are there praying they walk out the same way they walked in. The room is screaming with silent anxiety, the not knowing is the hardest part. The judge walks in and takes her place at the bench. Whose life will forever be changed today by the decisions that are made in that one room tucked away in the courthouse?
You listen to the stories of all those that go before the judge, feeling for their loved ones as the judge decides if they will get to go home any time soon. The heartache that you see in the eyes of each of the loved ones when the decision is made. When they hear that he/she is going to have to stay, months, years, a lifetime….the sadness is felt in everyone in that courtroom. Knowing that your loved one will be coming in soon and you have no say so in what lies ahead for them you feel helpless and sad that you cannot protect them at this point.
Hands cuffed, and legs shackled, the door opens and he comes in wearing an orange county jumpsuit and all. All you want to do is jump up and give him a hug, you want to save him from what is about to happen. That one of a kind smirk that you see takes you back to the good memories. You can almost hear his laugh and all that is around you is a blur. The judge starts to speak and you snap back to reality. You find yourself grasping on to every word that is said and hope that you don’t miss any part of the conversation. Holding your breathe and praying for the best, hoping for mercy, wishing he will be coming home. The final decision is made and he will be returning back to where he just came from. All you can think is he has to go back to that cold cement cell, the one that he is hidden from the world in. All his love, kindness and talent locked away in that cell because of the choices that he has made somewhere down the line. Seeing those handcuffs going back on him and that look of disappointment in his eyes. In that moment he is your baby brother again, wanting to be able to save him and protect him from the decision that was just made about his life that neither of you have control of but all you can do is sit there try not to cry. It’s inevitable the tears start to fall, and he mouths “I love you” and you do the same in return as he walks out the courtroom door and back down that hall away from the free world. To be so close and not be able to comfort or hug him or for him to comfort you, it’s heartbreaking. To know that he realizes his faults and how he affects the ones that truly love him. In that instant you realize it hurts him more to see your tears than for him to see those cell walls again.
That loving brother that would do anything and everything to make you smile, to protect you, to help with anything you were to ask of him. The one who would help an old lady across the street and mow the old man’s yard next door because he is too weak and has no family left to help him. That person is the one you see walking out of that room. His heart just as heavy if not heavier than yours because he knows he is the one that has to take the blame for the hurt and loneliness that is felt all around. All you can do is remind Sometimes we can’t save them from bad decisions but we can hope for the best outcome.
All this pain and sadness, why is it necessary? Until you have felt that pain and have seen it in your loved ones eyes, you will never know how much substances of abuse can directly affect you even if you are clean and sober. The power of substances being able to ultimately take you from your family, friends and loved ones will hurt you more than you can imagine. Not one of those in that courtroom wanted to be in jail and away from their families or children. They want to go home, but when you are an addict and have an addiction, you are not able to make sound choices until you address the issues and get the help that you need. It is not a battle won overnight, or in a month. It is a lifelong battle that you will have to fight if you want to stay sober…day by day is all you can do.
If you or someone you know are battling these substance abuse issues and want to get help do you know where to go? Do you know what your options are? Don’t fight it alone, there are many people that will be willing to help you get your life back and on the path that is worth your time and effort.by