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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

15 Minutes of Fame

Andy Warhol said that in the future everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes. Do you now what, I have not been world famous, but we have had our share of local fame and I do not like it! We have been in the news AGAIN and I am quite disturbed how easily these so called "journalists" can twist facts until they are in fact spreading lies!

                           

This is all following my son's court hearing in which he pleaded guilty to the charges. So what sort of silliness appears in the papers? "Local teen pleads guilty to drug factory charges", and comparing him to the film "The Wolf of Wall Street"...yeah right!!!!

When a so called "friend" txted my son that he is in the news, my son was so upset and had no where else to turn but to me. He stopped by unexpectedly, much to the dismay of my daughters, but we managed to have a chat. The poor guy broke down in tears because he is tired of all this and just wanted it to all be over and done with. Yet, he is well aware that it will never really be since people have labelled him and singled him out in our community. He is also aware that in the future when looking for employment, when a Google check is made on him, these news items will continue to pop up.

So that was a few weeks ago and we had to wait for the next sentencing hearing and of course the next, and last, opportunity for the press to put our story in the local papers. What no one realises, by no one I mean the strangers reading the papers and the journalists themselves, is that the feelings the lies and misinformation evoke in my son (as in anyone in the same situation) is so upsetting that he had to make himself feel better. How does an addict make themselves feel better? Oh, yes, by taking more drugs! I understand why, to remove themselves from the outside world and to feel better and manage day to day existence. So we waited for sentencing and my son took what he could, drank what he could and tried to hide in his haze while he waited.

                                                                

My son was not in a good way.  I decided to take him to the parole office for his pre sentencing report appointment. Each time he was intoxicated so I made a point of telling him that I do not agree with his behaviour therefore I will not be supporting him in his appointment since I do not want it to appear that I condone his behaviour. This happened on the first occasion and then on the second occasion, he had no memory of the first, but again, I told him that I will be sitting in and supporting him, though he did want me to. The third occasion was a good few weeks later after sentencing when he had to attend a parole appoint, he sadly had no memory of ever being there, that was how intoxicated he was on the prior two visits. It is also a testimony how long term alcohol and drug use destroys the memory.

The day we have been waiting for since Oct 3rd finally came, the sentencing hearing on July 9. It took nine months of various turmoil and anxiety and stress and worry from his arrest to find out the punishment he would receive. Three different occasions of being in the local press, various levels of drug use, finally accepting that my son had to leave, my son's homelessness, hospitalization, moving to supported housing, fear of eviction, poverty,a roller coaster of emotions....so much happened within those nine months, and all the time the fear of the unknown future for my son loomed over our heads. It was a very difficult time, but we have survived and in some ways even progressed.

                                

Court, as usual, was a very long day. This day at court was the longest though, we were there from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm! No need to complain about that though, because we were so very fortunate to be heard in front an excellent judge. To make a very long story short, my son sat in the dock nodding off since he was self medicating throughout the day. We had the support of our Family Solutions worker and of course my son's solicitor, both very lovely women who are very good what they do. My son did not receive a custodial sentence, he has a 1 year community order (probation), 6 months DRR (drug rehabilitation requirement) and 100 hours of unpaid work as well as monthly reviews in front of the judge and the judge requested that he be the judge he sees as he would like to follow my son's progress.

The reporters were in the courtroom and one waited around outside the court house for us. My son this time did not run away from the reporter, he finally had his say, "I am glad it is all over". Yes we most certainly are, though it is not over, in some respects it is just starting as far as his recovery, the saga of the courtroom drama and the fear of the unknown of what will happen in court is finally over!

                                

We had a nice two page spread in the newspaper, and this time he was referred to as Breaking Bad Jr, this was the first article that had the sole purpose of sensationalising the evil local drug factory criminal mind of a local teenager! It was a reasonable in many respects, though there were a few "yeah right"moments when I read it!

This chapter has ended! Let us hope the next chapter will be more positive and less trying. My son made big mistakes, but as the judge clearly saw, he is not a criminal who is a danger to society, he is a young man with serious issues which need addressing with support and rehabilitation which will, hopefully, move him forward and remove the need to self medicate regardless of the consequences.

So we have had our moment of being infamous in my opinion, but maybe my son will still have his real 15 minutes of fame for an experience sparked by a positive event or contribution!