In the years since the dream of PraeSpero Farms began, we have been privileged to cross paths with several wonderful people. Many of them are eager to share their struggles in hopes of inspiring greater passion and understanding for our mission.
Here are some of their stories in their own words.
My mother is a long-term addict. . .I was powerless to help her. I couldn’t fight her demons for her and I let it fuel my anger at the world.
I am not an addict. I am, however, a convict. I’ve been around addiction my entire life because my mother is a long-term addict. Early on in my life, she moved from so-called “hard” drugs to prescription medications. In a way, she was blessed to be early enough to avoid cheap heroin and the rise of OxyContin.
That said, medication dominates her life. When I was around 12 years old, she spent entire days in bed and in some cases needed me to administer her pain management drugs like Imitrex. I was powerless to help her. I couldn’t fight her demons for her and I let it fuel my anger at the world.
As I progressed in my criminal life, I met more and more people just like my mom. Unable to fight anything on their own, they turned to the easy way out, chasing the dragon with their addiction fueling their crime.
Choices are things we all make. We are responsible for both their positive and negative consequences. Choices don’t happen in a vacuum. Even as various government people promise all kinds of money and progress, it takes ages for those things to come to fruition. PraeSpero Farms is the fruit of action already taken; commitments already made.
I remember sitting in doctor’s offices as my mom got new medications from a doctor she just met. Referrals to programs are never followed up and all of the state-run programs were overwhelmed. There was no one-on-one treatment. There was no treating of her person.
Knowing that someone, anyone is going to spend personal time engaging treatment plans designed for specific people makes me hopeful. Hopeful that real success is possible. Hopeful that those folks won’t feel powerless and that their families, like me, won’t feel powerless anymore either.
Now, suddenly, it’s not so hopeless after all.
As a drug addict, I know on many different levels the disastrous effects of repetitive cycles. I know the cycle of chasing drugs and money to get drugs. Underlying that cycle is a cycle of harmful behaviors and character defects. Lying beneath all of that tends to be some sort of trauma or many traumas experienced at the emotional, physical, psychological, mental, or spiritual levels.
There is a common term in prisons, jails, and treatment facilities called the “revolving door.” Detox has its own term, “spin dry.” So here we have disastrous repetitive cycles in the very same facilities—in place to treat the symptoms. (What comes first, the chicken or the egg?) Feelings of anger, anxiety, hopelessness, etc. amplify in early recovery. When the treatment facilities are themselves failing, repetitively giving their patients all the intense statistics of how little the chance of success is for one to achieve lengthy sobriety, all feelings and emotions and thinking disorders which lead to relapse only magnify.
I believe treatment for people with addictive tendencies has been such a failure because the manner in which addictive behaviors are viewed (by mainstream) is entirely false. Sometimes the most obvious simple truth gets pushed aside. Simple works best.
I am a human being with a heart and a soul. My problems lie there within me. Everyone I know who was able to address root-cause issues, stay sober, and achieve lasting positive change, did so after feeling an intimate connection at an empathetic level early in their treatment. Feeling cared for in ways they hadn’t experienced in years allowed them to achieve something they had forgotten they were capable of. Now, suddenly, it’s not so hopeless after all. “Something” sank into their essence, shifting their perception to one where anything is possible. This “something” moves mountains.
The bringing about of this “something” into the lives of the suffering is the only common thread I see among people who change themselves. So when this is understood by the treatment community and when a treatment facility as a whole is built around this concept, it will achieve much success.
While it is true the person within the throes of addiction needs to be in a receptive state to receive tenderness, the tenderness must be given to be received. Unfortunately it is true that compassion is almost nonexistent in the majority of society today; let alone in jails and institutions. Ironically the last thing found (usually) in treatment is the very potent source of positive change: love. Could it be that simple? Could it be the very force that warms, nurtures, cares, helps, guides, informs, enlightens, and constantly only achieves success might be what’s been missing? Particularly needed in those who feel cold, forgotten, directionless, hopeless, confused, and trapped in failure? Love, simple, works best!
PraeSpero Farms seems to embody this concept. It has all the tell-tale signs of coming from that “something.” The very idea for this farm was produced by “chance.” A very compassionate woman who worked in an area with a large homeless and addicted community felt a desire to get involved in some of their lives. She would listen to their stories, their struggles, visit them in jails and institutions, and bring them food, blankets, gloves, hats, socks, coffee on cold nights. On many levels, she was providing “something”—warmth, care, help, in a nurturing manner.
That “something” is now the very essence of PraeSpero Farms. The seed of love is in the soil, in the foundation of this farm and it can only grow. When I hear of new trail-blazing innovative approaches to holistically approach addiction symptoms with treatments such as animal therapy, dirt therapy, and meditation exercises, I recognize immediately this “something” will succeed.