This time last year Jason was homeless, helpless and addicted to heroin. This year he's home for the holidays. Is this a Christmas Miracle? You bet.
A Christmas Mess
Christmas 2017 began like every other day. Jason awoke in his car. Dopesick. Walked four blocks to the drug spot. (He had no gas.) Bought three bags of heroin. Sludged back to his car. Then shot his way into oblivion.
Jason stayed that way for an hour or so. On the nod, as they say. Then he repeated himself. Injected bag number two into his arm. And the whole process started all over again.
Jason didn't seem to have a care in the world. Not when he was high, anyway. To anyone with eyes though, Jason didn't have a life. He didn't have a job. He didn't have a home. And he didn't have a place to go for the holidays.
Heck, Jason didn't even have a clean shirt to wear if someone had invited him. See Jason's family and friends were fed up. And they'd been fed up for a good long while. They were sick of the lying. They were sick of the stealing. And they were sick of the consistent parade of broken promises. They were also sick of seeing their loved one waste his own promise.
So, no Christmas invitations came Jason's way this year. They hadn't come the year before either. Or the year before that. Just as well. Jason wouldn't have wanted to go if they had come. He had no money for gifts. And he had no patience for accusing stares. Besides, Jason had other things to do with his Christmas. Things like getting high.
So Jason unwrapped his last package of stolen Pop-Tarts, wished himself a Merry Christmas and dug into his holiday meal. Then he shot the third bag of heroin and died.
A Christmas Miracle
Jason awoke to find two paramedics and a cop staring down at him. A passerby had seen him passed out in his car and called 911. A quick hit with Narcan saved his life. Jason couldn't believe it. Wouldn't believe it. Why? Because he didn't want to be back among the living. So Jason closed his eyes and tried to return to the place where dreams beat being alive.
The next time Jason awoke he found himself in a hospital room surrounded by family. His mother was there. His father was there. And so were his sisters and brothers. Jason even noticed an aunt and uncle in the mix. A cousin or two too. Jason figured he was dreaming. That or dead. Because the last time he'd been around this much family was in high school. And that was over seven years ago.
But Jason wasn't dreaming. And he most certainly wasn't dead. His family had come alright. And they'd come for one good reason:
To save Jason's life.
"We've arranged for you to go into rehab," said Jason's mother. "An addiction treatment center down in Florida. This will keep you away from the things that are hurting you. And give you a chance to get back your life."
"But we're warning you," she added. "This is your very last chance. Are you willing to take it?"
Jason looked around at the faces of his family. It seemed they'd all been crying. Then Jason noticed tears streaming down his own face. He couldn't let them down again. And he couldn't let himself down either.
"When do I leave, Mom?" asked Jason.
The Christmas Miracle Continues
Jason's life being saved was most definitely a Christmas miracle. If not for the passerby, the first-responders, the Narcan, he wouldn't even be here. Jason's family rallying around him was also a bit of a Christmas miracle. Each and every one of them had good cause to leave him be. But they summoned their strength and gathered their compassion in order to give him another chance. That Jason decided to willingly take that chance, especially considering the grip of addiction, is itself another sort of Christmas miracle.
But perhaps the biggest Christmas miracle of all is taking place this year, at Jason's parents' house, where a very welcome son is again enjoying the holiday among his loved ones.
Keep up the good work, Jason!