Oh, he was angry. I knew he would be. I was afraid of what his friends would think of me, afraid that they would think I was a ‘tattletale’. We were all so young and worried about the superficial. Yet at the same time we were all so very strong. And we didn’t even know it. To my relief, when I told his close friends what I had done that day, they stepped up to help. They spoke with his parents too, and together they devised a plan to attract his attention, and attempt an intervention.
A quick stint in a locally-based rehab program failed to reach deep enough, and so a more individualized approach was needed. In their search for help, his parents stumbled upon a long term drug rehab program. And he was on a plane where his life would change forever.
I kept myself busy, and stayed in touch with his friends and family over the next few months, maintaining the status quo. And then, in late autumn I received a handwritten letter from him brimming with honesty and gratitude. He acknowledged how betrayed he initially felt. But then I read the words I had longed to hear him say: You saved my life. I longed for these words not because it spoke to my ego. I longed for them because I was so afraid that I had, quite literally, lost a friend. At that moment my heart soared and started to mend with news of his healing.
He was to graduate soon from a special program that not only helped him physically detoxify, but enabled him to look inside of himself, to address issues that caused his drug use to snowball into addiction, and to free himself from that pain. My dear friend was back, and in better shape than ever: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. His introspection and newfound love and acceptance of self was refreshing, and his plan for the future was inspiring.
He went on to become a role model, and traveled the region educating young kids about the dangers of drugs and the science of addiction. He told them his story. He told them my story. He told OUR story. He reached down into his soul and realized his own essence as a teacher, a motivator, and a beautiful friend, son, and brother.
Now his family and our friends shower me with thanks and with admiration to acknowledging the enormity of his success. I quietly accept the thanks, but I emphasize that it is not at all about me. I tell them I may have been a catalyst, but that the awe-inspiring beauty of his recovery is entirely his own.