Jerry Davich: Sting arrest saves one heroin user from himself
Jerry Davich firstname.lastname@example.org August 21, 2012 11:06PM
Maxine Bonta cradles a photo of her son Jonathan Fisher and his son Andrew at her Portage home Tuesday Aug. 21, 2012. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 23, 2012 6:20AM
Those two words compel readers to contact me with their family’s own horror story about a loved one who got sucked into heroin’s infamous vortex of hell.
My recent column on the “silent epidemic” of heroin-related deaths in Porter County again compelled many readers to contact me, including Maxine Bonta. But, refreshingly, the Portage woman didn’t share yet another horror story ending with death, but one ending with hope and first-hand advice for other parents.
“Thank you so much for writing about heroin overdose. I had to respond,” she told me. “My son, Jon, is a statistic, but not the type you mentioned.”
“He is alive and has overcome the addiction, and I wish you would thank the Porter County Drug Task Force for me. I appreciate them more than I know how to tell you.”
That law enforcement agency set up a “sting” arrest of her son, 30-year-old Jonathan Fisher, two years ago and he has been clean ever since, she said. He used various drugs for 10 years until then.
“My son went to a Christian school, I played board games with him almost every day when he came home from school, and he always got good grades. There were no early-warning signs and I never suspected a thing,” she said.
Fisher grew up, had three children but had “no mind,” his mother said, and “his teeth are gone, too,” because of drug abuse.
“Twice I took him to the ER because he was deathly ill. Once I fought him over a shotgun — he was going to kill someone who was out to get him, in his paranoid state.”
For years, Bonta prayed that her son would get caught.
“I’d rather see (him) in jail than attend (his) funeral,” she said.
I heard this from many other beleaguered parents who are unable, or not strong enough, to report their own child, of any age.
“Tell parents that no matter what type child they think they have, to get those drug kits and test (their child),” she insisted. “I’ve heard people on drugs are super strong, but I am proof that a mother’s love is stronger.”
“Jon is glad to be off drugs, especially since his dad, my husband of 31 years, died last year,” Bonta said. “Jon told me he is so glad his dad got to see him clean. So am I.”
Fisher felt he had to move away from this region — and his bad habits here — to stay clean, so he now lives in Tennessee.
“He’s a single parent raising two kids alone, something he couldn’t have done three years ago,” Bonta said. “I always said Jon was the smartest person I’ve ever known. He has a genius IQ and no job. Thank you, drugs.”
“Maybe it was my choice not to see it, but I bet I’m not the only parent who didn’t see it. “I (now) know what it looks like. It’s ugly. It’s deadly.”
Another reader, who identified herself only as “an addict’s family member,” told me her loved one has been an addict for 13 years and behind bars for much of those years.
“It breaks my heart that this intelligent, articulate, funny, loving person has thus far had a wasted adulthood,” the reader said. “He has felony convictions for drug possession; therefore his prospects of ever getting a decent job are very, very limited.”
“No one aspires to grow up to be a heroin addict. If a person has never had an addiction in their family, they should not judge them so harshly,” the reader added.
“We have cried rivers of tears, said thousands of prayers. The one consolation we have is that he is still alive, but what kind of life is this? It would be wonderful if we could save the next generation from having this kind of life to look forward to.”
Critics insist it’s a waste of time to save addicts, many who don’t even try to save themselves. I see their point, but maybe they should consider the message behind this paraphrased “starfish” parable.
A young man walked along the ocean and upon a beach with thousands of starfish washed ashore. There he watched an old man picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently back into the ocean.
“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” the young man asks.
“Because the sun is up, the tide is going out, and if I don’t throw them in they will die,” the old man replied.
“But old man,” the young man quipped, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly save them all or make a difference.”
The old man calmly listened, then bent down to pick up another starfish and throw it back into the sea.
“It made a difference to that one,” he said with a smile.
My recent column on a new book, “Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure,” by Valparaiso author Bill Leavitt, also received a lot of feedback.
“Jerry, where can I buy this book? I really need to read it. I retired in 12/11 and so far I am at a loss as to what to do with myself. You hit on a lot of the feelings I’m experiencing. I think this book will be a big help.”
My mistake. I forgot to include purchase and contact information. For more info on the book and where to purchase it, visit www.RetirementLifesGreatestAdventure.com, email Leavitt at WriteOn55@aol.com, or write him at Write On Technical Writing Inc., P.O. Box 132, Valparaiso, IN 46384.
There are currently three sites selling the book: Suzie’s Café, 1050 Southport Drive, Valparaiso; The Remarkable Book Shop, 7227 Taft St., Merrillville; and South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority, 7770 Corinne Drive, Hammond.
Calling all Republicans
Are you planning on attending the Republican National Convention, beginning Monday in Tampa? If so, why? I would like to hear from you for an upcoming column.