Thursday, April 28, 2011

Drug addiction, prostitution and motherhood

Poor crack cocaine user neglecting even her child for her addiction
     During my most recent visit to the jail, I met three women who admitted to drug addiction. This is something incarcerated women usually have no trouble acknowledging. How can you blame an addict for the crazy things they do?  Addiction is a ferocious task master. It drives girls who swear, " they will never"... to do things that they hang their heads and whisper about.  Things like 'selling their body" for drug money, and stealing from their family members, and begging from strangers on the street using lies to get a dollar.

    One woman admitted to being so sick she could not lift her head off the pillow for days at the crack house where she was holed up. A friend called 911 to help her. When she was released from the ER after getting help and money to buy the medicine she needed to get well, she used the money to buy more drugs. Drugs that are eating away the lining of her stomach.

    She is in jail now, but she is thankful. She will tell you she is glad to be alive and realizes that without being arrested, nothing would have stopped her. Her name is Ann* and she is 38. She learned to read and write in jail. She found God in jail, She was given her first Bible in jail. She has been arrested six times, and has a sister and a brother in prison. 

    She is looking forward to getting out. She told me on Sunday, "I am getting too old for this. I can't keep coming back in here. " She is the mother of  twin girls and one son.  She knows she has let them down and chosen crack over them. They let her know she has let them down too. Admitting this, is what makes her cry.

   Her story breaks my heart. Everyone has a story. The poet Longfellow wrote,

"If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." 
  Each of these women has enough sorrow and suffering for ten women.

  This video clip is about Magdalene House. They are helping women in Nashville.

*names and details changed to protect identity
Photo source-

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