Though none of us are yet clear as to the precise way in which this great changeover is to be effected, there is a worldwide feeling now that changeover or a vast upheaval is before us. Increasing multitudes participate in this uneasy sense of an insecure transition. In the course of one lifetime, mankind has passed from a state of affairs that seems to us nowto have been slow, dull, ill-provided, and limited, but at least picturesque and tranquil-minded, to a new phase of excitement, provocation, menace, urgency, and actual or potential distresses. More and more, our lives are intertwined with one anothera worldwide morass, and we cannot get away from that fact. We have become nothing more than nondescript, political pawns in a winner-takes-allglobal chess game.
The words contained within the covers of this book are intended to speak to some of lifes ups and downs. Life encompasses a multitude of components that require daily maintenance and/or managementand your judgment in those areas will drive the direction of your existence. Life will, sooner or later, introduce you to the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in-betweenhumor, joy, sadness and the always-present mystery. The author believes the words in this book to be universalalthough not universally spoken nor acknowledged.
Richards odyssey has been continuous from the denial of his rural Arkansas roots to his acceptance in Phase Three. While the Greyhound bus physically transported him away from his disdainand provided the escape from his dysfunctional family, the relocation only skewed his perspective. California was a world apart from Arkansas, and without an education and/or a craftlife would severely test the authors fortitude and determination. It would resemble a scavenger hunt as he chased his always-moving, always-fading demons for personal understanding.
This book began simply enough as letters to his son (the second of two from the authors second marriage) who was/is also seeking self-understanding. The son was serving prison time for drug usage and drug-related crimes stemming from twenty years of abuse. Added to that, his son, Landon, is afflicted with epilepsy and the combination (epilepsy and heroin) can produce deadly consequences.
His sons first letter not only requested that his father correspond with him, but that he fill in the gaps of his lifehis words were, Dad, I know nothing of you before our family. The father was taken abackhe had rarely, if ever, thought about his past lifemuch less verbalized it to others. Initially, as he reflected on the request, he wondered if he even remembered anything about his pastor had he buried it so deeply (through denial) that he would never be able to resurrect the information that his son was requesting.
The book chronicles the authors early years in Arkansas and his own drug abuse during his twenties as he struggled in California. The book reveals the authors insecurities regarding his lack of a formal education. How he created a faade to conceal his perceived deficiencies as he managed a challenging career (the majority of those years at the supervisory level) within the oil industry.
One cannot read just one of the letters, encapsulated between the Foreword and the last page, and fully comprehend the purpose and/or intent of this collaboration between the writers present life and his long-buried past. Singularly, none of the enclosed correspondence is capable of standing alonebut linked together, they provide a measure of insightfulness and understanding (you decide about what). There are common threads woven throughout the writingand there are also subliminal messages, advice, thoughts, insight, understanding, encouragements and reconciliation embedded within the dynamics of this endeavor.
From the author: Landon and I have come a long way with our burdens; and while neither of us have arrived yetI believe we are both on the correct path and approaching the other side. But only time will tell
While this book is technically a sequel, the hope was that there would never be reason to continue the first books storyline. That book was left open-ended because we can never be sure of an addicts long-term sobriety. Given the longevity of his addiction, his drug of choice andhistory of failures, the probability was high that my son could relapse again.
He had been clean and sober for 30 months (18 months in prison and 12 months back home) before his regression was triggered by aprescription pharmaceutical. Vicodin wasprescribed and that led my sonback to the streets for methadone and from there it was just a matter of time before reconnecting with his old friend, heroin.
My sons meltdown and the mind-numbing ugliness of the fallout are documented in-depth, during the early chapters of this book.
In an effort to better understand the profound difficulties that addicts struggle with, and why they seempowerless to control their lives, the mid-section of the book is devoted to research. The book covers addictions in general, the history of worldwide drug usage, the pros and cons of the various treatment programs, the debate over the difference of opinion regarding the numerous models, the causal triggers andthe pharmaceutical companies.
Every addict has two personalities, but the general public only sees the manifestation of the unsightly onethe good one goes unnoticed, even when theyre clean and sober. The indistinguishable one is no different than you or me; hes just overpowered by his unwanted tenantaddiction. Imtrying to point out that no one wants to be an addict.Once clean, the addictknows that he must always be strong and vigilant because his co-pilot is always waiting in the wings for his chance to once again, take over the flight controls.