J W Johnston • Photography


4 -18


Francisco greets everyone he passes on the street. He knows almost everyone the neighborhood. Many of his friends, whom he has known for twenty or thirty years, he met while playing soccer, drinking, and smoking weed in neighborhood parks. This creates a problem for his recovery. He has a hard time saying no to someone he knows who offers to share a drink with him, and he is too friendly with everyone to limit his friends while he is recovering to those who are clean and sober.


While Francisco brings joy to our lives, there is seldom a week that passes without some crisis small or large that results from his drinking or drug use. We have tried everything in the past: tough love where we cut him off, called the police on him, sent him to jail, and evicted him from the house. Jail time only made the problems worse, and evicting him never worked. We would find him asleep under the front stairs in the morning. Two years ago he went to stay with his brother in Texas. We hoped he would stay or return to Mexico, but he was soon back saying he hated Texas. At some point, I realized that if I did not treat him like the enemy when he came home drunk, that we could diminish the amount of conflict. He now he knows that I stand behind him even when I disapprove of his actions. He now feels that we are working together on dealing with his addictions.