Honesty is a step in the right direction, but in and of itself not enough

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 16, 2008

By Harold Keller

For the past 14 years, I’ve been going to Fontainebleau Treatment Center (FTC) in Mandeville, Louisiana, every Saturday night.  It’s a 28-day in-house drug treatment program.  I minister to a group of approximately 40 men and, occasionally, after the session, on a one-on-one basis.    

After the session last Saturday night, I spoke to a 19-year-old.  He was handsome, intelligent, and well-mannered.  Every Saturday night, he was attentive and really into the group sessions.  

This past weekend was his final one at the treatment center and, as usual, at the end of each session, I give everyone who is completing the program an opportunity to speak.  He began by thanking me and Jeanne for coming every Saturday night.  “Mr. Keller,” he said, “you have been a very inspirational speaker.  I’ll never forget you and hope to see you again soon.”  Before he concluded his short speech, he said, “I have to be honest with you.  I don’t intend to stay drug-free.  I’m here only to satisfy the court system that demanded I complete this program.”

In all the years that I’ve been going to FTC, this was the first time someone shared his honest feelings and plans for the future, which included continued drug use.

I have to admit, much to my surprise, that he caught me with nothing to say except, “Thank you for your honesty.”  He said that he was a party animal and couldn’t imagine life without drinking and occasional illegal drug use.  

He seemed to be feeling guilty about maybe offending me.  I assured him that I appreciated his honesty and told him that God gives us a free will.  “Do you believe in God?” I asked.  “No,” was his reply.  “I don’t believe in anything above the sky or below the earth.”

I shared with him that regardless of his beliefs, his life would be better if he lived it drug-free..  

As we ended our conversation, I said, “I believe that there is a loving, caring, and just God, but again, you have the right to choose if you believe or not.”

I closed with my interpretation of Deuteronomy 39:19……God puts before you life and death.  If you choose the good life, you will enjoy all the blessings of God.  If you choose spiritual death, you will reap the curses of this life.

If you have any questions, or comments, please write to Get High on Life, P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084, call (985) 652-8477, or e-mail: hkeller@comcast.net.