Let’s talk about drugs.
When I was about 15 years old I remember walking home with my brother and a friend on a warm moonlight night. My brother and me were singing Bob Marley songs, and our friend, Stephen Riley, was singing Rod Steward songs. We were trying to work out which songs were the best, but we were all too biased to judge. Stephen walked us home and then he carried on his way, but the next morning I was woken up and told that he had died. We were told that after he left us he took some drugs, stole a car, and drove it into a wall. That moment has stuck in my head all this time because I remember how happy and full of life Stephen was when we left him. This was the first time I knew anyone who had taken hard drugs. I knew people who had smoked weed, in fact I think everyone I knew smoked weed, but on the whole they were all against tablets and powders. Later on in life I find I have had many friends who have lost their lives to drugs, apparently it comes with the territory when you work in the creative field.
If this sounds like a build up to a rant against drugs it’s not. I think that everyone likes to get high, it’s just that some people have legal ways and some have illegal ways, but illegal by who’s laws? As a young Rastafarian who would sometimes go to gatherings in houses or temples, I could never understand why the god given, holy, natural herbs that we used as part of our sacrament was illegal, but I could take a step outside and see many drunk Christians, even drunk priests falling about in the streets. Many of them would then go home and beat their partners, and even their children. The people I knew who used Ganja walked with their heads help high and would speak with pride about their history, their destiny, and their revolutionary idea. So even in my early years I sensed this great hypocrisy.
I get high, but I get high from breathing. If you have never practiced Kung Fu, yoga, or meditation I can understand why you might think that I’m talking mumbo jumbo, but believe me, I get high everyday using breathing techniques. And it’s good.
But what I really want to talk about here is not drugs, or even drug users, but the families and friends of people who are addicted to drugs, and people who have had to give up much of their lives to care for a family member that has an addiction. Over the last year I have come to know quite a few addicts and ex addicts, and they all have unique, and sometimes horrific stories. I have watched as they struggle with their problems, and as much as I would like to help them sometimes I just feel useless. So it was quite timely when someone contacted me this summer from an organization called Drugs In Lincs. He invited me to come along to one of their meetings to see what they do. Now I get at least two of these type of requests everyday, so of course I can’t respond positively to all of them. I am already patron of almost forty charities, but this request intrigued me. The south of Lincolnshire, where this organisation is based, is known for potatoes, roses, tulips, and churches, not for it’s drugs problem, but like many rural areas, all is not as it seems. There is a drug problem, and behind closed doors there are many family members who are struggling, and suffering.
I went along to see the people who run this organization and I was very impressed with their dedication. The area they’re concentrating on is one that is very much overlooked. There are organizations all over the country that do a great job helping the addicts themselves, but as the founder of Drugs In Lincs pointed out to me, there is very little support for their famili
Although Drugs In Lincs are based in Lincolnshire, they have connections all over the country. Founded in March 2014 they offer emotional and practical support to families and others who are affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol misuse. They are now the leading support organisation in the County. I automatically thought that the people they help would be parents who have young kids that have gone off the track, but it’s not as simple as that. There are wives, husbands and partners of course, but shockingly there are also children that have to look after their parents, and sometimes their families.
I’m writing all of this to simply say that if you are someone who is suffering the side effects of someone around you who has a drug problem you don’t need to be alone, you don’t have to suffer alone, there are people out there who are ready to help you. It doesn’t matter who you are, young or old, rich or poor, townie or rural, office type or Rastafarian poet, you are human, so if you need help, reach out. If you don’t live in Lincolnshire you can still contact Drugs In Lincs to help find an organisation in your area, and if you do live in Lincolnshire you can be sure that you will find good people there who you can trust. So don’t hesitate to contact them by phone/text/email/skype, or go to their website and see their full range of interventions.
Stay cool, and take care of you and yours.