RIO GRANDE — Ron James came to town in order to speak to people dealing with drug addiction.
James is a motivational speaker who tours the country speaking on the issue of drug abuse and how choices affect life over the long term. Dr. Nicholas Landry is the CEO of the Steps to Recovery program, and introduced James. In doing so, he addressed some of the common rhetoric around the drug and addiction problem.
“My issue with this problem is the language that surrounds it. Addicts are referred to as ‘those people,’ which deeply affects how we deal with the problem” said Landry. “It is the same kind of rhetoric that was used in the Civil Rights Movement about African American people, it dehumanizes them and avoids the problem.”
The group met at the Bob Evans Hall on the University of Rio Grande’s Campus.
James spent more than 25 years in and out of prison for various drug charges, and openly admits this to his listeners. The particular occasion for which he was at, was a pro-social gathering for members of the Steps to Recovery program; a rehabilitation facility that assists those with drug addiction. Part of that recovery program is what they call pro-social events to help patients work back into society and recover lost social skills from substance abuse and isolation.
James was able to connect well in this particular group as he was personally familiar with the problems that come with drug abuse. After prison, he wrote a book called “Choices” detailing his life and how the choices he made in second grade affected his choices as an adult to abuse substances.
“In second grade, I was in a play. And what happened was I was laughed at in front of the entire school,” stated James. “In that moment, I decided that I was never going to be laughed at again.”
James explained that it was at this point he began shutting others out. From this decision, spiraled several more that increased in severity until he dropped out of college and began using hard drugs.
“Who’s choice is it to go down the roads that we have gone down?” said James.
This question framed his talk, allowing attendees to understand that every choice made, matters.
“I was a fiend. I would steal from you, lie to you, con you, rob you, do whatever it took to get myself high,” said James.
He made it very clear that he had made the worst decisions in his life, and yet is now successful in helping others overcome the same poor choices.
If anyone desires to learn more about the Steps to Recovery program, call 740-446-6363.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108 or firstname.lastname@example.org