Press-Republican

Columns

August 25, 2012

Overcoming addiction takes time, support

I recently attended the Drug Court graduation in City Court of a young woman who has made changes she never imagined possible just a couple of years ago. And, she is not the only one who didn’t foresee her turn-around.

She was in City Court for repeated arrests, all related to excessive drinking and violent behavior. She spent time in jail, at inpatient treatment, in residential programs and on probation.

We spent more than three years together, as judge and defendant. It was wonderful to come back and be part of celebrating her achievements.

Through many years as an attorney and judge, I learned not to be in the prediction business. If I tried to do that, I would be wrong much of the time. I certainly would not have predicted this young lady’s success, as she seemed quite unwilling to stop drinking and commit herself to treatment. She is “Exhibit A” for why it is important not to close the door and to keep pushing and encouraging.

As judge, I saw the people who had been arrested, whose lives were so out of control that they committed crimes. Sometimes, it was driving while intoxicated; sometimes, it was stealing from family or friends, or assaulting them or damaging their property, or worse.

Being arrested can be a wake-up call that prompts a drug abuser to get treatment or an opportunity for a judge to order it. As painful a decision as it may be, calling the police when your loved one breaks the law may be the best way to help them.

Life may not have to get that bad. I am sure that it is extremely difficult to watch people you love destroy themselves. Even though you think they won’t listen or are afraid of “rocking the boat,” it is important for family members to talk to the drug-abusing person. Be honest, but not accusing or judgmental. You want to help, and let them know you will be there for them but won’t enable their drug use.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time