Friday, October 9, 2009


Years ago, two of my good friends were Sarah and Kenny. Sarah was a secretary where I worked and her husband Ken worked for a drug and alcohol rehab center.

Ken had talked to me about helping to sponsor a young black girl who had come to him for a job. She was just out of high school, admitted she was struggling with an alcohol and drug problem of her own but really wanted to stay clean. She had a strong desire to help others.

Ken knew of my recent alcohol problem that I had hopefully come to grips with and thought I could maybe help Penny. I found the prospect a bit scary. I could glue a dog back together but a human being was another matter. I was nowhere near qualified. With a lot of reservations and knowing I would be working with Ken, I agreed.

Usually, we would all meet at Ken and Sarah's house where we would have dinner and just talk. Sometimes serious conversations, but often, just relaxed times. We would often play cards or board games while chatting.

Ken and Sarah had no addiction problems and Penny was very surprised to discover that I was a recovering alcoholic. I looked so "normal" she was a bit dubious. We wanted her to realize that there was life after addiction. I was their poster child.

Penny once said something that made me realize just how different our formative lives had been. She stated that when she was a child, she wanted to grow up to be a drug dealer. They were "somebody". That underscored that I could probably never fully relate to the life she had grown up in. I could only try to imagine. We only knew our job was to get her away from where she came from, closer to where she wanted to be, and to instill in her that it could be done.

One day, I volunteered to provide dinner for the group at my place. I was to pick up Penny after I got off work as she had no car and Ken and Sarah would meet us there. I teased Penny as we rode down the dirt roads to my house that she was in real redneck country now. She did laugh also but it was a tad weak. Pretty sure she had never been in the country before.

After she met my dogs,horse and pony, she went to the bathroom to wash the doggie off her hands. I was working on the salad and didn't pay much attention to how quiet it had gotten.After way too long to wash you hands, I heard her call to me from the bathroom.

"Miz Patti, are you diabetic?" came the strange question that left me wondering what the devil brought that on.

Then I started to laugh when it dawned on me what caused that question. I had forgotten something that was so normal for me but would scare the bejeebies out of a recovering addict. Across the top of my vanity was an array of needles. syringes and small bottles of injectable medicines that I used on my dogs.

The poor child was terrified she had gotten into a drug users house in redneck country. The only thing that could explained the array, would have been if I were diabetic. She laughed almost hysterically in relief when she learned all that paraphernalia was for my dogs. The so called drugs were wormers, preventives, and antibiotics. For a long time after that she referred to me as her "doggie drug dealing" friend.

Penny eventually got a scholarship thanks to Kenny and went off to college. For a while when she was in college, we got cards from her. Mine were addressed to DDD. She happily informed us she was getting married. Then her cards tapered off as her new busy life consumed her. I was pleased that her life had gotten so full that she didn't need us any more. Pretty sure she stayed clean and had a good life. No body wanted it more than she did, except maybe us.

Yes, there is life after addiction.


  1. LOL! Wonderful story Patti! You know we really need to start giving our dogs their shots now that we have five!! :)

  2. I guess we must never jump to conclusions. I always enjoy reading your posts.
    Sunny :)

  3. Hi Patti, I thought you were going to tell us that you ARE Diabetic. Glad you are not. There's nobody that can help someone with a drug or alcohol problem than someone else who has been there --and has or is recovering. That is a perfect way to 'give back.' Glad you could help her. Do you still hear from them/her????

    We are on our way to Hendersonville today to check on G's parents. Then we have company coming tomorrow. Fun Fun!!!!

    Have a great weekend.

  4. Thsnks for a such a positive story today. I needed that as it has been a stressful, depressing week for me. My FOTO FRIDAY is in the making, but a hodge podge of stuff, including small update on tragedy that struck this week.

    Plus the great flood epics have returned--Nearly 4 " last night, on top of 2" a day earlier.

    There is no better feeling, however, than to know you've had a part in saving a fellow human being, from self destruction, whether drug, achohol, or other destructive behavior.

  5. Carol,
    We got a big laugh out of it when the needle problem was solved.
    You really should look into it doing your own dogs. It isn't difficult and saves a ton of money .
    How does it feel to be a pack leader?

    Thanks. It is so easy to assume our first thoughts are accurate ones. I am still a conclusion jumper myself even though I know better.

    As far as I know, I am not. We never know what lurkes below skin level though.
    Haven't heard from her in years and Google turned up nothing. Of course I don't know her married name.
    Travel safely and enjoy your company.

    All I can say is Wow to the rain. Just poured 4" out of the rain gauge from last night and this AM.

    I know your town is still reeling from the tragedy that struck this week. The smaller the town the worse it is for every one knows everyone else.There will never be justification.
    Hope you are all able to heal.

  6. Congratulations to both of you. Wouldn't it be nice to hear something from her again after these years have gone by?

  7. Yes, my congratulations too, Patti. I am so glad that I never got far into alcohol, because I would have a hard time getting out of that pit. I have an addictive personality (at least for cigarettes, I did).

  8. Patty,
    Well you never know the power of the internet. That would be nice.

    Me too. I was able to ditch alcohol and cigarettes, now if I could just get past food.

  9. Happy ends are for sure what we all like. I hope Penny made it.
    Not all endings are so hopeful.
    PS = I would sure like a list of your old posts

  10. Grayquill
    Thanks, me too. I feel almost 98% sure she made it just fine.

    I do have a search blog gadget and blog archive but failed to do the label bit when I started. I have 240 posts since January. Not sure I have the strength to go back and label.

    With the search blog, just type in any word and it will give you a list of posts on that subject.
    Thanks so much for the interest. Too often our posts just drop into oblivion.

  11. This is a funny kind of tale. Nice to read.

  12. That's a wonderful story, Patti! Thank you, for I like happy endings.

  13. Thank you for the insight Patti. I am sure she thinks about you often and who knows she may have a blog post out there all about her DDD.....

  14. Abe,
    Glad you liked it. Thanks.

    Reader Wil,
    I'm like you and like the happy endings Walt Disney spoiled me.

    You never know.Wonder what her version would be. Bet she was really worried for a bit. I just hope she is well and happy.

  15. Ha, folks have seen syringes in my studio that I use for applying slip and "wondered" about that.

  16. Linda Starr,
    You too huh?? That is funny.

  17. That was a really interesting post, for me as I used to work as a probation officer, and also because so many people I know have had that sort of start in life. About your previous post - also really interesting. I have recently started using 'Burns' for my pets, free of gluten and much else - - I was urged to use it by an animal trainer I'm currently having lessons from with my young collie. I used to have a dog that had siesures like you describe and wish I'd known about dietary problems before, I've also worked with a nutritionist for myself and for me it's yeast and sugars I need to avoid mostly.

  18. liZZie,
    Welcome to TNS and thanks for the comment. I'll bet as a probation officer you saw pretty much the worst of the worst. Some people just don't have a chance with their backgrounds and yet others amazingly rise above.
    Think most doctors and vets are really weak in the benefits of proper nutrition. There is much to be learned in that area. Glad you found people with the knowledge to help you and your pet.
    Thanks for the link. I'll see if Burns is available here.

  19. Inspiring !! The more I learn about you, the more I feel small. You are something really. There's nothing more rewarding than helping someone find his/her own footing in this world. Kudos to you.

  20. What a great story, DDD...(lol)!
    Inspirational! It must give you such a wonderful feeling to know you helped someone find their way out of addiction and into a new life!
    I am going to go back and read all those posts about your father and you, too!

  21. lostworld,
    Sometimes we only need a place to rest our feet when we are treading water. I owe so I try to pay back.

    She did all the work, we were just there for support.
    Thank you for reading the past posts. Sometimes we feel like they are just tossed over a cliff, never to be seen again once we post the next one. Thanks for giving them a spin.