October 1, 2022
A Beacon post
The term “functioning addict” can be deceiving … especially to the addict. Edward would know. He was one of them.
“Throughout my life, I had a job, and I always had a place to go,” he says. “I really didn’t think I had a problem … until I was arrested and sent to prison.”
Finally, after more than two years of alcohol and drug abuse, Edward realized he had a problem after all.
He was only 14 when he started using meth and heroin. He hid it from his family and, in time, hid it from his employers — including, at one point, the Department of Homeland Security. On the outside, Edward appeared to be “functioning” just fine.
But inside? He realized something was wrong, especially as he began to notice he’d been burning bridges in his relationships, particularly with his family.
One night, while out with some of his drug-using friends, they pulled into a gas station. One of the guys asked Edward to fill the tank. While he pumped the gas, his friends bailed and ran … just as the cops screamed into the parking lot.
Edward had no idea why his friends ran, but the cops let him know: It was a stolen car.
After a brief jail term, Edward returned to his old ways and had a few more brushes with the law. Though he’d destroyed his relationship with his family, his sister never gave up on him.
Soon, she suggested Edward try out the Mission. So he did. And just like that, his transformation had begun.
Edward’s top priorities at the Mission were to 1) get sober, and 2) restore his relationships with his family. “I wanted a good program,” he says. “I wanted something substantial to stand on.”
He knew he was changing for the better, but his family was skeptical. But after a few months, “they saw that I had resolved to stay in the program, and they saw how much I’ve changed.”
Edward is especially grateful for the healing that is taking place in his family, particularly with his sister. “It hurts so much knowing that I lost those relationships,” he says. “But she’s been able to forgive me and give me a second chance. It’s overwhelming.”
Edward finished the program at the Mission and is paying it forward to help others who are struggling — including the “functioning” addicts who don’t even know they have a problem yet. Because Edward knows where that can lead.
“If it weren’t for the Mission, I’d either be back in prison … or dead,” he says. “The Mission changed my life.”
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