The Sad Story of Sam

The Sad Story of Sam
The following is a story of a life that did not change in the end. For the sake of privacy the name and some of the circumstances have been changed.

I met Sam on the streets of Capitol Hill. Sam was a very scary person. I found out he was a drug dealer and heroin addict. Many in Capitol Hill knew Sam since he was walking the street all the time. Sam was the typical heroin drug dealer who was selling heroin to pay for his habit. He had an ‘eight ball a day’ habit-extreme drug user.I developed a very close relationship with Sam. He began to trust me. I spent hours a week with Sam trying to help him. Ultimately Sam stopped selling drugs. Now he was ‘just’ a heroin addict. For me that was a giant step in the right direction. A huge step. That was success. BUT, my next goal was to get him off of heroin. At different times he would kick heroin in my apt but would then go back out. He  went to prison on a drug charge. Well, that is a way to get off of drugs.

I visited Sam in prison every month. After a year Sam was released from prison. He is the only person I ever allowed to be released in my personal home. Sadly the night he came to my house to temporary live he took off and did drugs.

Over the next several years Sam would do good and then bad. He got another criminal charge and went to jail. When he got out he finally started going things right. He got a job. He stayed free from drugs. Success finally. But after a year he went back to drugs. But immediately went into treatment in Eastern Washington. He got out of treatment, got a job was starting to do good. But then I could tell that something started not being right with him. Ultimately I got a call from a medical examiner saying that Sam overdosed on heroin. He wasn’t sure if it was bad dope, he used too much by accident, or if it was suicide. I personally believe it was suicide.

What is so sad in this story is Sam was a very likeable guy when you got to know him. Very caring, a born leader. The courts, his probation officer, and many others gave their all to help Sam. But he still died by a heroin overdose.

Do I regret all the time I spent trying to help Sam? Absolutely not. Why not? For many reasons, but mainly because I am called to this type of ministry even if I don’t like it at times. Also because you never know when a Sam might become a Jim. (Read Jim’s story.) I can focus on the Sam’s (most in society do) and give up, or I can focus on finding the Jim.

How about you? Who will you focus on?

It is important to give food, clothing, resources, shelter, etc to the Sam’s because there are some Jim’s among them.

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