The Washington Post

Readers discuss heroin addiction, mental illness and Kris Kristofferson

Heroin in the suburbs

Thanks for the article “I am part of the new scourge of suburban heroin addicts” [Feb. 11]. I only hope that some young people will read it and maybe allow it to strike a chord in them! As a therapist working with people who use drugs, I wanted to say to the author: I am so glad to hear your story for today has a happy moment — that you are safe and working on your program. I hope you stay the course.

Robyn E. Brickel, Alexandria, Va.

I applaud Ben Cimons on his efforts to break his addiction and to have the courage to discuss it publicly. My nephew struggled with the same drug and also started by smoking marijuana. It is an ongoing challenge and one in which an addicted person will always need support. To Ben: Know that you are never alone.

Your words will help others dealing with drug issues and may also give pause to those thinking about using drugs. I am thinking about you and wishing you all the best in your recovery. Stay strong: You have many people cheering for you.

Catherine McMullen, Bethesda, Md.

A mother’s mental illness

The first-person article on mental illness was helpful [“My mom is mentally ill. There, I said it,” Feb. 4].I connected with the story. Although we have mental illness in my family, I didn’t realize it until my 30s.

I, too, became an overachiever in high school and a top tennis player. All to shield the pain. My sister died when I was 13, and I kicked into “perfect” mode!

Panic attacks and anxiety helped to peel the layers of armor. Talking about it uncovered other people’s secrets.

I am 44 and not ashamed of my family. We love one another and no longer judge.

Laurie Mowrey, Clarksville, Md.

Kristofferson in 1965

Your article on Kris Kristofferson was a fine story about a man who had a real impact on my life [“Aging but still playing, a songwriter looks back,” Feb. 4].

I served in the 8th Division with Kris in 1965. I was a manager at the post rod and gun club, and Kris was custodian of the club fund. He was responsible for the money. It was his influence that made me want to become a chopper pilot. He got me up in front of my first crowd to sing there in the club. I came to know him as a really fine, honest and sincere individual.

I remember his last night at the club: It was about midnight and we sat at the bar having one last beer. He went to Nashville and I went to flight school and Vietnam. I went down to visit him in Nashville while I was at Fort Campbell and he played some demos for me. They were great as all his songs are. I think he is one of the finest humans I have ever known.

Norman W. Swafford, Bernie, Mo.



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