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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Don't Cut off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" (without using the actual phrase or litera (02/14/08)

TITLE: To Lose The Whole World
By c clemons
02/20/08


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The metal folding chair was uncomfortable, and the room felt stuffy and hot. Mary was trying not to meet the eyes of anyone. The room was filled to capacity, what a commentary on the state of the world Mary thought. “How did I get here?” she asked herself.

Life had been good for Mary. She had had a six- figure job, the career of her dreams, a family that loved her dearly, and a nice house with the picket fence. Hers was a fairy tale come true. Only everyone knows fairy tales are not real. Mary’s therapist had told her something had been missing in her innermost self for her to go down the path she had gone. She guessed that was true because at the beginning of this downward spiral she had never felt more alive. The first time she did ‘crystal meth’ was the last time she had a rational thought. Mary had wanted more and more of that feeling of freedom and aliveness.

“Recreational User,” that is what she told herself and others that were in her circle. I can have it all, my life in the suburbs and meth, it enhances my life. The only trouble was she never shared this enhancement with her husband Kevin. She lied, schemed and eventually started stealing not only from the kid’s college funds but also from her employer. When she was fired, she kept leaving home everyday with the pretense that she was going to work. She would actually spend the day getting high with her new druggie friends. Her class of friends had changed; those who had introduced her to the drug were long gone. She now went to a drug den, where no one judged her. Mary was their ATM.

Eventually Kevin found out what was going on. He had known something was wrong for a long time. Once a stunning beauty, she now had scabs on her face and a vacant look in her eyes. She overheard the children, five and six, tell Kevin they wanted nothing to do with her saying, “Mommy is not the same, she doesn’t love us anymore.”How did this happen?” She wondered at time. How can my children think I don’t love them? She loved her husband, her children and the nice life they had. But right at that minute she loved the drug more. Kevin had given her an ultimatum, get help, or get out. Mary had left, saying at the time she would get help but on her own terms.

Mary’s terms had almost killed her. Her money source now gone, she was not as welcomed in her drug den as before. She sunk to unimaginable lows to fund her habit. One day while out on the streets asking strangers for money, a man stopped to talk her. He said he did not have the kind of bread that she was seeking but he did know where she could get the bread of life. Mary remembers not being even the least bit interested in what he was saying, but he offered shelter and a warm meal.

The people at the shelter were kind and helpful. There were counselors and programs to help the “disenfranchised” as they called them, not drug addicts, homeless, or the mentally imbalanced. If you wanted what was offered, they would take you every step of the way, rehabilitation therapy, a place to stay, spiritual guidance and employment. The man that Mary had met on the streets ran the shelter. He was affectionately known as “Reverend Bob”, a former methadone addict himself. He spoke to Mary often about the love of Christ and how He could fill the void that she was trying to fill with drugs. The scripture she remembers the most was, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matt.16: 17. (KJV)

So, here she sat after going to hell and back. She raised her eyes to look into the eyes of other recovering addicts, no longer ashamed but thankful that God never stopped loving her. She knew this was the beginning of the return to her life not only better but whole. When the host speaker asked if any new attendees wanted to speak, Mary stood and said. “Good Evening, my name is Mary and I am a Recovering Addict.”


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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/22/08
Drug use is a very good application of this proverb!

There's a lot of "telling" here--I'd suggest that you take one small incident from Mary's meth days, and write just that incident, providing sensory details and dialogue.

Such a tragic story, and I was happy for the hopeful ending.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/23/08
A sad story for sure, but it doesn't meet (in my humble opinion) the requirements of this week's topic. There are MANY proverbs that DO fit this story to a "T" however. Addiction problems are prevalent in our world today, and this story was well told, kept the interest of the reader to the end, and definitely made a good point with the referenced scripture. Well done.
Joanne Sher 02/23/08
So tragic. I would have loved a bit more description - let me see what is going on instead of just telling me.

Great title, and good job with characterization.
Tim Pickl02/26/08
I love how gave us hope at the end of your story! 'To lose the whole' implies, 'and gain your soul' -- excellently written!