Chapter 18. Healing and Not the Doctor (June – October 2003)

This chapter is the reason for writing this book.  It began with the argument presented when attending my first A.A. meeting and told “I was an addict, was always an addict even before ever using drugs” and what I opposed the most, “will always be an addict”.  Just how can this be?

Before arriving I came across a book which gave the origins of the 12-Step philosophy and it more or less gave me fuel what I already believed that the group was a pseudo-religious organization, very dangerous, a cult, and I just couldn’t see how Jesus was a part of it nor, as in my case, would He share credit for having solved my drug problem.  Even having attended Teen Challenge, a Christian-based ministry, God would not permit me to credit them for the removal of this stain in my life.  He wanted sole responsibility and credit for doing so, and I’m just the guy who’s going to do it; hence, writing this book.

These groups, whether secular, pseudo-religious or religious can only do one thing: provide the basis for the removal of the actual drug usage, in essence, the goal for many persons and law enforcement.  However, God desires to go beyond just “say no” to having “no desire” or urge for the “sin” in the lives of people.  To have me stop actually using is no good if my whole desire is to continue doing so, the “dry-drunk” principle.  Like my tobacco addiction, today I don’t think about cigarettes and not addicted, just as I was prior to the age of eight when it was not my custom or habit to use them.  In fact, during my drug use it was necessary to puff on them to get the cigarette lit to produce ash necessary to smoke Crack when using certain pipes.  I didn’t return to smoking cigarettes.  Am I an addict addicted to cigarettes?  In 1991, when I decided to end my life during my homeless period after being dismissed from IBM, I decided one day to smoke figuring “why not”, I’m going to die anyway.  After two puffs, I just could not bring myself to return to something I was before and had been so victorious in my life.  Not going back then, now or ever.  Why should drugs be any different?

There is a reason why I used, or anyone, uses drugs.  And there is Someone who has the power to cause a reversal of the act and will do so if only one just believes.  It is true, most Crack smokers will admit to enjoying the high—just not liking the end result.  If it could be determined how to utilize Crack, it would be quite an effective weight loss method, if it weren’t so addictive.  There’s a joke among its users when someone who doesn’t understand ask, “how did you loose so much weight so fast?” the response is, “I went on a ‘stem-fast’ diet.”  It is quite effective.

I have given many hours thinking about and researching this subject as well as going over and over Scripture to find supporting evidence regarding the issue of healing.  I can make this statement, quantified statement, without any hesitation,

“God is able to heal addiction instantaneously or progressively but all based upon one’s faith.”

It’s one’s faith which determines whether it will happen in an instant or over a period of time.  Even at Teen Challenge several counselors told me, rather, suggested, clean living without an urge doesn’t began until about the fifth year.  Could there possibly be a number, a period of time, when one could be assured?  No!  Again, it is according to your faith.  Just as Jesus said over and over again, “according to your faith…go and sin no more.”  It is really up to you, us, me, to make the decision to let God do what only He can do, forgive the sin and relieve the sinner.

I was grateful after months of waiting to finally get called and meet the psychologist who would be the answer to my defense.  After several hours of talking and testing, he provided my attorney with a copy I am making available to you, except for minor corrections and grammatical changes, the content stayed the same:

Psychological Evaluation Report for Roy Martin

 

  1.        I.      PERSONAL INFORMATION

NAME:           Roy A. Martin, II

GENDER:       Male

AGE:             46 Years

PLACE OF BIRTH:           Cleveland, Ohio

MARITAL STATUS:           Married four (4) times.  At present                                                                               process of divorce

EDUCATION:           High School Diploma

College Education in Finance (2 Years)  Data Processing and

Computer Programming (Several courses)

OCCUPATION:           2002 to Present – Unemployed due                                                                            to Incarceration

1973 to 1991 – IBM Corporation:  holding different jobs

1991 to 2002 – Administrative Assistant for several companies

DATE OF EVALUATION:           April 29, May 1, May 8, 2003

PLACE OF EVALUATION:         Metropolitan Detention Center                                                                                     United States Board of Prisons                                                                                     Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

   II.      REASON FOR REFERRAL:  Mr. Roy A. Martin, II, was referred to this evaluator by Ms. Joannie Plaza, attorney at law for the Federal Public Defenders Office, District of Puerto Rico.  Ms. Plaza requested an assessment of Mr. Martin’s current level of psychological functioning.

  • III.      PROCEDURES USED:    Interview with Ms. Joannie Plaza

Review of Mr. Martin’s records – (Submitted to this evaluator by the Public Defenders Office)

Three (3) clinical interviews (approximately one hour per session)

Four (4) hours of psychological testing

IV.      TEST ADMINISTERED:    Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, III

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory –                                                            2 Compulsive Sexual Behavior Inventory Thematic                                                     Apperception Test

Rorschach

    V.      OBSERVATIONS AND RELEVANT BACKGROUND HISTORY

Mr. Roy A. Martin, II is a 46 year old black male with short and slightly bald dark hair, an average body frame and height, with no significant or particular features in his appearance.  He sowed up to the visitor’s room wearing a khaki inmate jumpsuit.  After identifying himself during the first meeting, the evaluator and the examinee moved on to a small private cubicle for interviewing and test administration and so on for the next two (2) meetings.  It was made clear to him that this evaluation was requested by his attorney, Ms. Joannie Plaza, in order to assess his current level of general psychological functioning.

During the three (3) sessions held with Mr. Martin, he was very polite, very proper in his responses, and definitely making a big effort to impress the evaluator positively.  He appeared generally pleased with the process, making it easy to establish an adequate rapport with the evaluator.  In a few occasions he made comments regarding test materials which apparently he was somewhat familiar with.  He mentioned that he had been psychologically evaluated on previous occasions.  He answered the testing questions at a very high level with good logical and comprehensive elaborations.  Also, his responses to questions during the clinical interviews were very well documented, precise, and sophisticated.  Throughout the process, he showed several indicators suggestive of an open and honest communication.  Nevertheless, it was obvious that he has a narcissistic and perfectionistic behavioral style. He burst into tears on three (3) occasions during the procedure with referring to his lack of parental love and support since early childhood and the death of his grandchildren.

No evidence of contradictions, improper secondary elaborations, or any open sign of disturbed psychological behavior or thinking processes were observed.  All tests were completed without any physical or mental interference which could have diminished the test productivity and results validity.  The overall data gathered by the evaluator was accepted as generally valid.  Many of the data reported on these sessions have been thoroughly documented on Mr. Martin’s record.  This evaluator will focus on the pertinent data relevant to the present evaluation.

As per his answers to the initial questions, Mr. Martin clarified that he has been in the Detention Center for nine (9) months for charges that he is not willing to accept.  However, since the very beginning of his detention, he has openly accepted without reservation that he has confronted serious sexual problems since age six (6) and drug addiction (use of Crack) for the last fifteen (15) years.  To his surprise, since he was six (6) years old, he remembers exposing his genitals at the window of his apartment and feeling a lot of pleasure from engaging in such behavior.  Although at that time he was not aware of the nature and implications of this, during his early adolescence (11-12 years old) he had access to a book that belonged to his mother titled “The Exhibitionist” which showed a naked woman posing on the front cover.  He searched for the definition of the word in the dictionary and then realized that he was an exhibitionist.

Although since the onset of this sort of sexual misconduct he derived a lot of pleasure, it was not until this point that he became aware that he was unable to control it.  From that moment on, he has associated this behavior with self-stimulation and masturbation, which not necessarily led him to fulfill the sexual response cycle up to an orgasm every time he exposed himself sexually.  As stated by Mr. Martin, his pleasure and lack of control was basically focused on the act of exhibition itself more than on completing the four (4) stages of the sexual response cycle; that is, excitation, plateau, orgasm and ejaculation.

Although he was not the type of having many girlfriends and/or having sex with a partner, all through his youth years he continued engaging in this type of behavior in a rather compulsive manner.  His first relationship with the opposite sex was around age fifteen (15).  However, since the very beginning of relating sexually to the opposite sex, he noticed that rather than the pleasure derived from having intercourse, what made him derive sexual pleasure was being watched, accepted and appreciated as a sexual stimulus by his sexual partner.  More so, as early as when he was twenty (20) years old he considered himself impotent because most of the time he was unable to achieve and maintain an erection through sexual intercourse with his female partner.

Around age twenty one (21) he also began to feel a lot of sexual pleasure from watching other female naked bodies, not only from exposing his own.  Then he concluded that he was also a voyeur.  Since then he has married and divorced on four (4) different occasions as a consequence of his sexual problems which unable him to establish an intimate and emotional marital relationship successfully, even though he felt love and appreciation for his ex-wives.  He always avoided having children of his own since he is convinced that part of these sexual problems might be inherited.

He had tried using many different illegal drugs without developing an addiction until around age thirty (30) when he discovered that the use of “crack” potentiated his pleasure overwhelmingly during his customary sexual expressions of exhibitionism and voyeurism.  This has helped maintain his “crack” addiction from that time forward.

Whenever Mr. Martin talks about his parents he expresses a lot of resentment and anger since he perceives that most of the three (3) brother’s behavior problems relate to their parents’ neglect and abuse during early childhood.  He reported having two brothers, one forty five (45) years old, and the other forty four (44) years old  The former is a divorced police detective who suffers from chronic respiratory problems.  The latter is a computer analyst who has been married and divorced several times and also used drugs and exhibited himself.  According to Mr. Martin, this one has recurred to frequent fistfights to ventilate his anger since he was a young fellow.  His father is a retired minister and his mother is a retired nurse who divorced when the children were very young.  According to Mr. Martin, the three (3) of them were severely punished by his mother up to their adolescence.  He remembers that since he was five to six (5-6) years old his mother used to punish the three (3) of them very frequently by making them stand in a line, taking off their pants and underwear and making them bend over a chair and slapping their buttocks with a belt many times.  He recalls a deep sense of humiliation, anger, and despair every time they were punished like this.  Not withstanding the severe punishment methods used, the mother always said that she was doing so because she loved them dearly.

Besides his father being away because of the divorce, he has very scant memories of him.  One that comes to his mind frequently was when his father approached the front door and he felt afraid because he used to perform some sort of physical exercises on the examinee’s legs in order to help him overcome some birth physical deformation.  Although Mr. Martin has no recollection of any direct sexual contact or relationship with any of his parents, he believes that maybe during their early childhood he and his brothers were sexually abused by them or any other close person.  He resents that, especially his mother, has never wanted to talk about this topic whenever he has brought it up to her.

As part of his spontaneous verbalizations during the interview, Mr. Martin frequently accepted that he is a sexual and a drug addict in need of medical and specialized professional help.  He expresses pride for being in control of his impulses during the last nine (9) months of incarceration and stated that he has neither engaged in using drugs nor in any sexual misconduct.  During this time, he has focused all his attention (approximately twelve (12) hours a day) to “self-recuperation”.  He reports having read over ninety (90) books, fifteen (15) of them self-help books, and he is re-reading the Bible for the fifth time.  Since the lack of control has always been the source of his self-hate, all this “self-therapy”, as he calls it, has helped him to maintain control of his impulses in a positive and constructive way which he believes has been the biggest challenge of his life.  A very good example of this self-hatred pattern is his history of four (4) suicide attempts as an intra-punitive reaction of his feelings of lack of control over sexual impulses.  He also feels proud of being able to keep a self-supported life of being employed for over thirty (30) years in different companies.

He estimates that since age (6) to present he has engaged in over 72,000 attempts or acts of exhibitionism and voyeurism.  He has never harmed or attacked anyone physically and has only bee charged for exposing himself twice.  Regarding the charge of possession of childhood pornography that were pressed upon him (9) months ago, he said that the purpose of obtaining a child pornography movie was to show evidence to the police to help them unveil the source of this illegal business.  As per his interpretation, this was a way of honoring the memory of his two (2) grandchildren by helping other defenseless children.

Even though he was able to accept to the evaluator that he enjoys seeing nude pictures of young females as well as exposing himself to younger females, he stated that he is completely against child sexual abuse.  To this extent, he acknowledges that this behavior does not constitute pedophilia, since he has never engaged in any direct sexual contact or relationship with a child.  More so, he stated that the act of watching or being watched in the nude by young females does not constitute the main focus of his sexual problems. To this regard, he is willing to accept any help that could be provided.

Mr. Martin strongly emphasized throughout the interview that he is certain of what he has been capable of achieving during the last nine (9) months of his incarceration but he is not certain of what could happen in the future in regards to controlling his sexual misconduct or drug addiction.  However, there is no doubt in his mind that he needs intensive medical and specialized treatment to overcome the previously mentioned problems.  He is willing to accept any help from the judicial system in order to achieve this goal as long as it might help him maintain control of his behavior and be able to live a “normal” and productive life.

VI.      TEST RESULTS

Cognitive Assessment

 Mr. Martin’s performance on the WAIS-III yielded a Superior Level of intellectual functioning.  He obtained a Full Scale IQ of 126, a Verbal IQ of 123, and a Performance IQ of 124.  All the eleven sub-tests scores obtained from the Verbal and Performance parts of the test fell above the normal range of intelligence.  No significant scatter was found among the obtained scores.  Therefore, it can be concluded that at this moment Mr. Martin’s intellectual functioning is well preserved without any particular deficits which may hinder his cognitive capabilities.

Closer analysis of his sub-test results indicate very superior functioning in the areas of abstract thinking, verbal conceptualization, general fund of information, social knowledge, and visual motor speed.  He scored within the superior range in tasks demanding practical social knowledge, non-verbal perceptual organization, and ability to detect details.  Lastly, he scored within the bright normal range in tasks demanding verbal concentration and arithmetical reasoning.  These last two capabilities, which are related to his working memory capacity, seem to be somewhat affected by his anxiety level.  Even though he scored on those sub-tests above the normal range, it is worth to mention that these two were the lowest scores within his obtained average.

The overall intellectual functioning results, as measured by the WAIS-III, leave no doubt to sustain that Mr. Martin is a superior intelligent individual.  This indicates that his serious lack of self-control, which leads to poor social behavior judgment, is not directly related to his intellectual capabilities.  Furthermore, his lack of self-control seems to emerge from deep-seated emotional and personality problems.

During Mr. Martin’s interviews and evaluation periods he was oriented in time, place and person.  His thinking processes are logic and coherent though they are very obsessive concerning sexual matters.  They also show some paranoid flavor.  The content of his thoughts is mostly relevant to the matters discussed; however interestingly enough, any minor stimuli leads to sexual ideas and verbalizations.  Definitely, Mr. Martin seems to be involved in an active process of analysis concerning his sexual expression and its evolution throughout his life that seems to fulfill most of his conscious and unconscious attention.  His recent and remote memory is very well preserved although the former may be affected by his anxiety level.

Throughout the tests results there were no signs found suggesting the presence of mental problems emerging from organic brain dysfunction or damage.  In regards to his judgment overtly he impresses as capable of making excellent judgmental appraisals of almost any situation. However, when it comes to sexual matters, he easily looses his judgmental capacity and acts out in a rather uncontrolled fashion.  Possibly, his use of “crack” has been a trigger mechanism to his uncontrolled sexual behavior in order to avoid immediate self-condemnation and retrieval from the acts, even though later on he realizes the extent and impact of his sexual misconduct.  Mr. Martin’s contact with reality is mostly adequate, though, at times, he tends to idealize, rationalize, and intellectually justify his situation as a result of a spiritual or divine intercession or just his fate.  He believes that sometimes God guides his life steps inducing him to faulty reality awareness.

Emotional Assessment

The emotional assessment of Mr. Martin is based on results obtained from the CSBI, MMPI-2, and Projective Tests (Rorschach and TAT).

Results obtained from the CSBI indicate that Mr. Martin suffers of a high level of compulsive sexual behavior.  The more significant results in his inventory were obtained in the control factor where he showed major sexual compulsive difficulties.  Uncontrolled sexual feelings, behaviors and urges associated with feelings of guilt and shame were evident.  In addition, the results indicated the use of sexually compulsive acts as a life shelter; nevertheless, this pathology tends to interfere with his interpersonal relationships, and productive capacities.  Other factors present in the inventory, such as sexual abuse and sexual violence, scored very low.  This shows that Mr. Martin’s sexual compulsiveness responds mostly to control problems and is apparently manifested through sexual behavior that is not abusive or violent in nature, which seems to be the case in most exhibitionistic and voyeuristic cases.

On the other hand, results obtained from the MMPI-2 profile may be interpreted by some professionals as an invalid profile due to the very high elevations on many of the clinical and validity scales.  Nevertheless, and without discarding these factors, this evaluator considers that there are some excellent clinical inferences, based on the obtained profile, which may help describe Mr. Martin’s personality.  According to the test profile, Mr. Martin’s current emotional state appears to be characterized by agitation and some elements of hypomania.  Is overall approach shows a help-seeking attitude, self-depreciation and confused thinking.  Profile code interpretation (864 T-score over 60) suggests that there is a high probability that Mr. Martin engages in argumentative, unpredictable, delinquent, and/or antisocial behavior and feelings of persecution are easily developed.  The test profile also indicates the possibilities of social maladjustment, evasiveness, socially maladjusted in relation with women, resentful, demanding, hostile, and distrustful.  In addition, his score of Scale 5 indicates sensitivity and submissiveness, along with insecurity and highly aesthetic interests.  Some content scales from the MMPI-2 also suggest high levels of bizarre thinking, antisocial practices, and family problems.  Profile for supplementary scales, imply marital distress and incapacity to engage in intimate affectionate marital relationships, as well as signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Regardless of the profile validity, there is no doubt that this personality inventory results indicate the presence of significant emotional psychopathology with deep and various components.  These may promote severe psychopathology pictures, depending on the amount of stress the examinee is able to tolerate and manage at a particular point in his life.  Clear signs of significant emotional maladjustment, paranoia and incapacity to accept or adapt to social norms make Mr. Martin quite vulnerable to engage in periods of uncontrolled behavior.

Projective test responses illustrate by far the nature and manifestation of Mr. Martin’s psychosexual dysfunctions.  Both test responses Rorschach and TAT, manifest a catharsis of his evident repressed sexual expression within the last nine (9) months.  All precepts and stories on the test were of sexual content, basically of female nature, with a good quality form and balanced and creative determinants.  Sex was represented at the unconscious and pre-conscious levels as a theatrical narcissistic performance rather than the interaction of people’s bodies and genitals.  Sexual excitement and energy is derived by admiration and acceptance of an act of watching or exhibiting nude bodies in a rather aesthetic manner.  Rorschach determinant analysis suggests good ego defense mechanisms such as intellectualization, rationalization and projection tend to facilitate emotional control under certain circumstances preventing emotional decompensation.  Nevertheless, it is evident that the examinee’s needs or reassurance and acceptance of his immature and inadequate sexual needs are so basic and strong, that he seems incapable to exert a good judgment and control in the way he tries to fulfill them.  Overall Rorschach responses also demonstrate clear narcissistic and egocentric tendencies along with social evasiveness, interpersonal problems, and a rather homophobic attitude.

One of Martin’s recurrent topics on the TAT stories dealt with his early relationship with his mother.  It was clear that he never felt parental acceptance and approval, especially from her, which seems to be one of the main sources of his deep rooted self-depreciation and related psychopathologies.  His attitude towards any female figure appears to be one of submissiveness, insecurity, and an overwhelming need of acceptance.  There is no doubt through his test responses that exhibiting himself at certain unconscious or conscious level represents the test for approval from mother-female figures.  Evidently, the use of drugs as a facilitator agent for this behavior has been the preferred way in which he has been able to cope with guilt and shame due to his sexual misconduct.

The above mentioned results leave no doubt of the presence of severe emotional psychopathology of chronic and significant impact on Mr. Martin’s mental health.  The nature and extent of his emotional conflicts has hindered the use of his high and preserved cognitive capacity to overcome effectively the devastating effects of his sexual misconduct.  On the other hand, it may also be interpreted that his high intellectual capacities has prevented Mr. Martin from falling into a total uncontrolled psychotic level of functioning.  Dynamically, it is clear that the physical abuse to which he was exposed during his early childhood, along with his parents, especially the mother, have acutely harmed him throughout his emotional development.  The fixation of a pattern of sexual exhibitionism from such an early age, as presented in his history enable the evaluator to avoid this early expression of psychopathology as the main trigger of Mr. Martin later psychosexual maladjustment.  His explanation of exhibiting himself as an act of humiliation to seek mother love and acceptance does not seem quite far from what in fact might be the source of his compulsive sexual behavior.

Although there seems to be many other aspects to be considered to fully explain his overall behavioral sexual patterns, there is no question that Mr. Martin has been deeply influenced by his family conflicts and some other social stressors since his early life.  An attitude of manipulating and blaming others for his problems without accepting full responsibility for his acts, along with his prior resistance to fully accept his needs for professional help especially medical and psychological, has interfered with any possible clinical management of the psychopathological expression of his illness.  Evidently, his recently receptive attitude to treatment might be the first step towards future improvement of his mental health.

VII.            CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

Based upon the history provided, direct interviews, and psychological test results, this evaluator concludes that Mr. martin is a very emotionally sick man who shows an attitude of positive change during the last nine months of his imprisonment.  Besides, he needs intensive and prolonged professional assistance in order to deal with his multiple psychosocial and personality disturbances.  As illustrated before, there are all sorts of indications suggesting psychosexual and personality psychopathology in his clinical picture.

Notwithstanding, the current clinical data collected does not reflect a clear picture of pedophilia or a potential abusive or violent sexual behavior towards women in general, more than the one already described.  The sole fact that he accepts having been involved in over 72,000 exhibitionistic or voyeuristic episodes and only being caught twice by the police might be interpreted as a good indication of the non-violent or physically abusive nature of his acts.

It is clear that Mr. Martin has adopted a positive outlook of life in the last months, and also, he acknowledges the fact that being incarcerated has helped him control most of his sexual impulses.  This reaction suggests the need of external control for the successful handling of his psychopathology, regardless of whatever personal affirmative decision he may undertake in the future.  Based on the complexity of the psychopathological picture presented by Mr. Martin, there seems to be a lot of unpredictability in regards to treatment adherence and results.  Definitely, it is this evaluator’s impression that at this moment the examinee seems very receptive to respond positively to medical and psychological treatment.

Many theoretical models, as the ones shown in the scientific literature by Carnes, Coleman, and Morin about managing or treating paraphilias leave a very narrow margin of expectation that any form of therapy may “cure” this type of mental disorders.  As stated by Jack Morin, in his book “The Erotic Mind”, regarding paraphilics,

“For most of these people it’s a matter of learning to deal with the underlying self-hatred that drives a paraphilia…You cannot fight a paraphilia…Trying to will only make the problem worse…the best a person can do is learn to deal with their paraphilia, and work with it, so that it is no longer a force that controls their life.”

Many of the proposed models of treatment are guided to control the compulsion that motivates the paraphilia (by use of medications or behavior control methods).  Other may help the patient by emphasizing the learning to enjoy sex with a partner, rather than with a paraphilic act.  Lately, the medical literature has been guiding steps to soften paraphilic impulses by using hormonal-based treatment.  At this very moment there is not a specific formula for all patients suffering from these difficult-to-treat mental disorders.

Mr. Martin seems to be a good candidate for a combination of these therapeutic modalities in order to help him develop an adequate level of self-control over his sexual impulses, and, at the same time, canalize the overt manifestation of his sexual needs through activities or behavior that do not constitute a criminal act.”

END

When I read his evaluation, I believed, I received the “Rosetta Stone” of my emotional conflict I had been waiting for all my life.  He was right on target in many areas and I was amazed how accurate one could actually diagnose a problem.  After specializing in sexual dysfunctions for over 35 years, I would hope so.  But, we could not use it!  Although true, my attorney thought it too dangerous to go with the “Mental Diminished Capacity” defense.  It would expose me to many years of incarceration and ultimately this was not our/my goal.  I was crushed.  What to do?

God provided an additional three months to resolve this conflict.  God was not through with me and wanted me to go even deeper in the issue of healing.  I was inspired to write Freddy a sermonette on healing and am included it:

Healing – The Origin of It’s Own Problem

They found the woman actually caught in the throes of illicit passion and sex.  (John 8:3-11)  We do not know if she were a married woman involved with a married man, but what we do know, she was caught in the act of adultery.  How did they know this woman?  Probably because she’s done it more than once, perhaps by now a habit, she’s known to be involved in this most heinous of actions again the Church and man.  The Scriptures say she was brought to Jesus having been “taken in adultery”.  Taken, as in being found in the very act of committing this sin, probably didn’t give her time to dress properly wanting to further humiliate her and disgust anyone seeing her especially as she is being brought to Jesus, hoping for Him to become angry, along with them, for having put Him into a position of shame as well.

You know the story, Jesus begins to kneel and write something in the sand and when He looks up there is no one but this woman.  Probably assisting her to her feet and offering her the time to get herself together, her dignity being one, He pronounces her “healed” based upon her faith and gives her not only the warning but the fact, “Go and sin no more”.  In other words, from this point on, you don’t have to do this.  You are free.  Now, go and live your life.

Go and live your life.  Where and how?  For many of us it means going back to where we have come from.  Going back to the very same people we once called family and friends who now probably revile us and have decided they no longer can trust us because it was from them we stole to continue our act of usage of drugs and the lifestyle they did not want to be associated with.  People who gave up on us because we could not finish a program or two.  Could not hold a job and lost the respect of our children and employers because we could not fulfill our obligations and responsibilities as most normal human beings.  We were given up on.  And now, we’re commanded to go back and live among them!  How?

How many of those men who dragged that woman heard the pronouncement of the Rabbi who they hoped would condemn her now pronounced her clean?  Not one.  Yet, this woman who is healed of her problem with sexual deviance was told to go back and live.  How many of them would trust her, would see her and taunt her openly, speak badly behind her back as she was trying to live the life of victory, and merely shopping in the public marketplace?  How many of our family and friends will find it difficult to trust us?  Will move their pocketbooks from the chair knowing we’re in the house now.  How many children, nieces and nephews, will be scurried away in an open area to be easily in the eyesight of those who no longer trust us because of some past history, arrest, conviction and time served?

When Jesus heals us from whatever it is that we are brought and left at His feet, we go back to those who may have brought us—alone.  They will not hear those words we’ve longed to hear and maybe they had to go because they would not have trusted anyway and those words were for our hearing because it was for our own need we needed to hear them.

Addiction is enough suffering on its own.  Yet, once we’re cleaned and pronounced “saved and healed” from the One who can only say it with authority, this is when our time of testing will really come.  For some, it would have been easier to remain ill and rejected than to be healed and rejected.

END

Chapter 19

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