Guest Column

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
Guest Column
  • clute_cropped.jpg Finding accountability, healing

    Today, I focus on the vast majority of cases that do not go to trial but end in a guilty plea, writes former District Attorney and City Judge Penny Clute.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • krieg_felicia_mug.jpg Affordable doesn't mean low quality

    Drugstore products often perform just as well as their high-end counterparts, Felicia Krieg writes.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • paul_grasso.jpg Opportunity to repair infrastructure missed

    A vibrant economy requires roads, bridges, dams and other assets that are in good condition, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ken_wibecan.jpg Remembering the Sixties

    Each Memorial Day and Labor Day in the early 1960s, about a dozen of us city-dwellers drove to Lake George, writes columnist Ken Wibecan.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg The right to be forgotten?

    Europe taking first steps toward securing privacy with Google and Facebook, writes columnist Stu Denenberg.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Ethical consumerism in vogue

    However, making purchasing choices that can help save the planet aren't always that simple, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg U.S. lacking leadership

    Inspiration is hard to come by as society struggles to fulfill the traditional American dream, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for quality, safety, animal welfare

    June Dairy Month is a good time to appreciate all the effort that goes into producing the very best in dairy products, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Libraries still relevant

    In the digital age, it takes innovation and creativity to assure libraries stay a vital part of the community, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Trees at risk from pests

    The Emerald Ash Borer is a major threat to ash trees locally and across North America, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 1, 2014 1 Photo