This is a story about a student of mine. We'll call her Christy.
I first met Christy four years ago when she was a 15 year old student in my history class. She was smart, sarcastic and personable, but always seemed as if something were bothering her below her outward projections. Over the course of the year she was in my class I learned a lot about Christy. Her mother died when she was 11 after a long and painful battle with cancer. He father was thrown in jail(still there) for drug related violent crimes. Christy had scars she hid well, until you got to know her.
For some reason she trusted me and over the course of the following year she would visit my room often and we would talk at length about a variety of things, including her problems. She shared with me how she had started drinking in middle school and used drugs occassionally. Upon hearing this I did the teacher thing and told her that I would have to let appropriate people know and they would follow up at home. She commented that she knew that and that it would not do much good. Apparently Christy had been living with her aunt since her mom's death and dad's incarceration. The aunt had tried to get he straightened out before but to no avail. Christy was right. Two weeks later she was back in school. Still drinking, still using. People knew and nothing seemed to change.
Christy continued to come by my room on a weekly basis to talk. She would usually mention what was going on in her life and I would show my disapproval and tell her she did not have to live like this. As her junior year went on her drug use got worse. She would disappear for weeks and nobody, including the aunt would know where she was. She had picked up a nasty little addiction to crack and speed and was spending a lot of her time with her dealer. When she finally returned to school, her aunt had kicked her out and sent her to live with her older sister who happened to be shacking up with her boyfriend.
When Christy started to come by again she began to tell me that she never forgave herself for how she treated her mother before her death. She hated herself for being mad at her mom for dying. That anger manifested itself into the crack, speed, the alcohol. Now though, Christy was cutting herself to relieve the pain.
Back to the school psychologist for a referral.
The call went home.
The sister had her put in a program.
Christy ran away.
By the beginning of her senior year, Christy was back. Still living with the sister with none of the real issues resolved. This young lady was a permanent fixture in my classroom. Every time she would tell me how she felt about herself and what sorts of things she was doing I would listen. I would tell her that no matter how much she de-valued herself, she had great value in God's eyes. She always got quiet after I said things of that nature. Sadly, those statements never seemed to alter her course of action.
By Christmas of that year she was doing better or so it seemed. She turned 18 and decided to get sober. It lasted about three weeks. After her relapse she came into my room crying. I did what I could. I listened. She said she just didn't know how she could stand to look at herself anymore. She left my room that morning saying "maybe I'll just kill myself and get it over with". Red alert.
I got somebody to cover my classes. I rushed down to the office and found an administrator I trusted and told him what just happened. He issued a call slip for Christy and had the school psychologist sit in with us. When Christy came into the room and saw me I could read the look of betrayal on her face. For the next three hours the four of us sat while she cried and showed us the scars on her arms from the cutting. Her confessions of substance abuse and how she didn't know how to stop or where to begin to stop.
By the end of that morning Christy agreed to let the psychologist get her into a program that might help. She couldn't go home, her sister had apparently kicked her out. She was 18 and legally responsible for herself. Where else could she go?
Her senior year ended with her in a 12 week recovery program that she left twice. She found her crack dealer again. I didn't hear much from or about her for the next year. I knew she had several false starts toward recovery, but that is all I knew.
A few days ago I happened to go into my classroom to get a few things for the summer school class I am teaching. I noticed that the light for my voice mail was blinking. It was Christy. She left a number where I could reach her. It took me some time to catch her, but I talked to her today.
She sounded. . healthier. She is living in a recovery home, has a full time job and has been sober for over six months. The longest she has been sober since she was twelve. As we talked I got the impression that things might be different now. Christy talked as if she knew what the problems were now and that she could and was doing something about them.
My whole point in this post is that people are hurting. Children are hurting and they so want somebody to care. Please pray for Christy's recovery. She is so fragile right now and I really get a sense that she wants this to work this time.
Peace and good health to all.