Second chances and bad decisions

I've been thinking about second chances and drugs a bit lately. This has been mostly spurred by the HONY series on inmates. I find  a lot of their stories to be fascinating, and in many cases I feel sorry for them, even empathetic. Some of those people were dealt a bad hand in life. Others got caught up in a lifestyle. One guy justified his actions (dealing drugs) by his giving neighborhood kids money for the movies and helping someone pay a bill. Robin Hood of the hood!

I also watch the show Pit Bulls and Parolees. I find myself rooting for the guys there too. I want them to do the right thing. And I think most of them will. 

But it is so easy, I imagine, to fall back into the fast lifestyle. When you can make hundreds or thousand of dollars a day working just a few hours, slinging burgers for $7.25/hour for 6 to 8 hours a day seems a lot less appealing. And the addiction. I know how difficult it is for me to not eat sweets or to stop biting my lips and my nails. I can only imagine what addicts must face on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. Honestly, after seeing a couple of relatives go through it, for the most part I believe it is when, not if, they will go back to it.

When I see some parolee on that show saying he wants to turn his life around, I often say out loud, "Do the right thing. Make good decisions." I always watch the show with my kid, who is a sensitive soul, with a huge place in her heart for animals. I typically remind her of the poor decisions these guys have made, but that they are trying to turn their lives around. Seeing Joe in yesterday's episode provided a good cautionary tale; during his drug-dealing days, he was shot at in a car dozens of times and lost an eye. But we have relatives who have done things and have allowed me to give my child some excellent examples of how drugs can ruin your life. I can only hope and pray the lessons take.

These are things that I think about, particularly as my child is hurtling towards the teenage years and my not having a clue as to where she will go to high school or who her friends will be. I think about drugs because they are in the news so much. Part of me wants marijuana to be legal because it does not seem to warrant prison, most of which are already overcrowded. And I don't think it is particularly dangerous; most people I know who smoke do it to relax. You just don't read about people who have died from smoking a joint. 

Yet people who do or did hardcore drugs did not start by sticking a needle in their arms. My one relative started with weed. Unfortunately it did not end there. 

So as with most everything in my life, I have mixed feelings about this and no answers. I don't know how to get people not to buy, use, sell, or get off drugs. I just have to hope it lessens, and hope even more it does not hit home. And I am still going to forgive and give people second (and sometimes third) chances. Especially people I care about. But I know people fall back to their old ways and/or may not deserve the chance to begin with. But that is life. At least the one I am living in.


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