Darkness Beyond the Light
Facing harsh realities about a child will not be easy for both John and Sally Ross as their lives are about to be turned in so many directions that at times they will have to literally catch their breaths in order to continue on. Routines will be broken and meeting will be cancelled or not attended as the defining moments and realities concerning a child will either bring their family together as a unit or tear them apart. Additions can be to foods, gambling, shopping, or even liquor. But, what happens when a child disregards everything he has been taught and becomes addicted to heroin or even cocaine. “Addiction is defined as a “chronic, relapsing brain disease that is con is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.† It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting, and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.
†The term addiction as used in this booklet may be regarded as equivalent to a severe substance use disorder as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5, 2013).” Source: From the laboratories of Drs. N. Volkow and H. Schelbert
The holidays are coming and John and Sally plan to spend time with their son Brody, daughter Chloe and her daughter Whitney. However, the thorn in their side is Sally’s mother Geraldine who is critical, fussy and extremely opinionated and often thrives on criticizing her daughter and John in public.
Brody Ross is over 30 and just lost his job but never told his parents instead he’s been asking for money, thousands of dollars claiming to owe bills, car payments and other expenses. Learning more about what these expenses might be John senses that there is something and finds himself on a plane to Chicago and shows up at this son’s door. Not thrilled to see his father and realizing that something is off, John soon realizes that Brody has a serious problem that needs to be addressed. The apartment he lived in was in shambles as was Brody and the young girl that helps care for the property and seems to look out for him seems okay but later on the truth behind her ruse will come out. Fired from his job and not saying why and then as he speaks to John realizing that he cannot hide the truth about his problems, John learns that Brody is in debt to drug dealers and that his life is on the line if he does not pay them what they claim he owes and with interest. Brody explains in his words: They kill people who don’t play on their terms.” But, this is just the beginning and Brody denies he has a serious problem and coming back home does not decrease his appetite for drugs and pills. Job interviews are no longer in the picture and people tell lies on drugs justifying their actions or denying their addiction as Brody now comes home and faces Sally. Dora his housemate you might say claims she takes care of him, does not do drugs and John wanting to believe her hands her cash to take care of the place while Brody is gone. Loan sharks no know boundaries and they will stop at nothing as Brody will learn to get what they want and even then they might not stop. Arriving home they are greeted by Sally and her mother, Geraldine who hovers over Brody like he’s a little kid and what is revealed later on is that not only John but Geraldine and even his sister gave him thousands of dollars claiming its for expenses that he could not pay. The harsh reality is that no one told the others about Brody and maybe whatever he was into might have been stopped and addressed earlier but the problem won’t go away and more lies will be told before anything positive happens.
My favorite character is Whiskers the dog who is smart, astute and commands his master to take him out when needed but irritates the living daylights out of Geraldine who shoos him away and wants nothing to do with this great dog. The coffee is poured quite a bit making me wanting to join them for some as it’s my favorite morning relaxer. His sister arrives with her daughter and chaos takes over when a four year old demands the remote, fights her grandmother for it and Brody wants to watch football. But, Sally has been so preoccupied that she never put up the tree and naturally her mother remarked about that and the fact it is a fact one really upset her and the critical remarks flowed. Sally tries hard not to overreact to her mother’s jibes but at times they are hurtful and she wants to fight back as John defends her when necessary.
Brody is slick and wants to make sure that he has connections to get drugs as John finds heroin in his room and takes the pouch not knowing how to handle it and instead contacts Office Kate to talk about his options. Chloe sees the white powder and realizes that it’s either cocaine or heroin revealing that she tired it in the past. Snorting or smoking is besides injecting it into a vein are manners of deploying these drugs in your body. Rehab is the only way to help Brody but they do not want to broach the subject yet and with Christmas coming soon the situation is tense in their house and at times it’s amazing that both John and Sally don’t explode. Brody asks for cash to shop for gifts and at times wants to use the car to go and see friends. But, can he be trusted as he gets arrested for drug possession and John has to bail him out. A green sedan seems to find its way in front of John’s home and with the help of the police they hope to catch the dealer and not have to pay them back. A sting in place but even though he’s caught does that mean it’s the end of the threat?
People that have addictions often deny the fact that they have a problem as does Brody at times. On one hand he admits to taking drugs, gets arrested for making a disturbance in a public place, overdoses and winds up in the hospital and goes with a friend and gets attacked. All three times related to drugs or a deal gone bad. Depression and wanting to feel good is often the reason some shoot up. Most drugs hardcore or not as hard produce a temporary feeling of euphoria or pleasure. Heroin which is what Brody gets high on, and which is an opiate, makes them feel relaxed and satisfied as opposed to cocaine which gives them the feeling or power of even self-confidence. Brody as we hear him interact with his family is in denial at times, suffers depression, lost his job and is stressed out, owes money to loan sharks and began abusing drugs in order to lessen his feelings of depression. Some but not in this case use drugs to enhance or improve their performances. Others like Brody decided to use it due to peer influence, curiosity because the old adage everyone does it and because it’s risky and dangerous and he thinks he won’t get caught.
This has put a hard strain on Sally and John and at one point while building a snowman with Whitney he winds up in the hospital with a heart problem Focusing on relaxing he might relax his body but not his mind and hoping to hide the problem from Geraldine does not work. She might be almost 90 but she’s sharp as a tack and wants to understand his issues. But, in understanding it she denies that the problem is serious and thinks he will go away making sure that Brody knows Grandma will always come to the rescue.
Christmas morning was tense and as John explains the reality of the situation to Sally and the fact that Brody owes money to some dangerous people and that he wants to pay them off and make it go away. But, is this enabling him or should they make Brody more responsible? Going out with his friend Arnold and allowing him to be with this friend turns out to be a nightmare and another stint in UK hospital and this time things explode. Percocet is a serious opiate and the hospital prescribes it for Brody for pain when he’s attack why?
Crossroads Rehabilitation is their first rehab center that they visit and Breaking Barriers Recovery the second as Brody asks questions and seems to understand that he has no choice in the matter. But, within this plot John seems to be getting to close to Office Kate Washington and meets up with her several times to talk about Brody but it seems she is interested in John even more. Things spiral out of control and tempers flare as Geraldine speaks her mind, Sally becomes despondent and takes to her bed and Chloe uses her organizational skills to keep the refrigerator stocked, the house clean yet not revealing that she and her partner Samantha seem to be having some problems.
Truths, lies denials and an attempt on Brody’s life once again learning that Arnold his friend might be part of his problem and the supplier someone that was front and center whose image did not appear to be of a drug dealer. With her mother on her case and about to go back home to Arizona author Michael Embry throws a curve snowball at readers and at Sally when her mother falls, breaks her hip and now cannot leave. Will Brody go to rehab? Will Geraldine ever leave? Will they ever get there lives back and is just taking it one day at time really wrong? As the story closes we are left with many unanswered questions as to Brody future, Geraldine’s condition and John and Sally’s relationship. Sometimes we need to understand the Darkness that covers us before we see the LIGHT! This is an issue that needs to be addressed by schools, counselors, clergy, parents, teachers and medical professionals and teens need workshops in schools and in groups to understand the seriousness of using drugs.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine