"Six years ago, Rick Laham was sitting outside Popeye's Chicken in northeast Wichita with a bag of crack pipes and 10 rocks of cocaine in a QuikTrip cup. Today, he's managing partner of a multi million-dollar telecommunications company. But now the company he runs stands accused..."
There’s a place at 525 North Main Street in Wichita, Kansas known very well to Rick Laham, author of Immaculate Recovery. It’s the Sedwick County Jail. Brought down by the disease of addiction, Rick Laham has written a first-hand account of the events leading to his multiple arrests and convictions on drug possession charges and related crimes. Justified in his “addict’s mind” by the loss of his marriage and disconnection from his family, he writes about his spiraling down from being a successful businessman and functional pot smoker, morphing to a nocturnal life infested with crack cocaine - along with all the bad decisions that accompany the drug.
“I was in an 8 foot by 8 foot cinder block cell with nothing except the jail-issued clothes I was wearing and a 2 inch foam mattress on a steel bunk,” Rick Laham wrote, feeling like an animal locked in a cage. Although being alone, he knew God was with him. These feelings, along with Gideon’s Bible, a pen and paper, and his core values emerging through forced sobriety, enabled him to scribe a journal of his daily thoughts articulating his ever deepening faith.
Rick Laham recounts many of the events prior to his arrests, being at times out on probation and toying with his own u.a. (urine analysis) schemes to pass his drug use as being undetected by his P.O. (parole officer). His fellow addicts; some being beautiful women, some junkie sleaze balls, but all having one thing in common – not being able to stop using drugs until they run out, pass out, die or go to jail. Out of those four conditions, only one was a permanent method of quitting – death. The others were just temporary situations.
Although despair and depression flirted within his mind luring him to suicidal thoughts, Laham wrote, “Thank God, that was one thing I would never do. I always believed it was the only unforgivable sin. Scripture says that all things are possible through God. So if you know the Scripture, as I did, to kill myself would have been blasphemy, saying God did not exist and that there was no hope.” In reading his story it’s hard not to see the irony in his thinking for him not to believe the drug use was another form of suicide. From within the disease, he points out, one’s emotional maturity is stifled, and responsibility is distorted to the point where nothing else matters but continuing the self-medication.
Immaculate Recovery begins with many first-name-only short stories about some of his exploits of scoring drugs, using drugs, and talking about the characters that go around the drug world: taxi drivers, strippers, plus those nobody would ever suspect such as a grandmother, or successful and wealthy professionals. The book is soberly honest – there’s an oxymoron: a recovering drug addict writing a sober book. However, this style of writing is prevalent in many works, as often writing is a method of recovery in and of itself. Later in the book, Rick Laham evolves to a diary format, written during his days in jail. Many of those details are simply insignificant, as mundane as jailhouse life itself. He has a dozen or so examples of drawings done while behind bars. One point he wrote how he would listen to his AM radio late into the night, often helping him to fall asleep. “One thing I did learn while I was in jail, was that if the batteries were dead they could be revived by putting them in hot water for a while, maybe 20 to 30 minutes, and interestingly enough, that would bring a dead battery back for an hour or two.” I felt the subliminal irony in this remark as jail was the “hot water” which enabled Laham’s soul to be brought back to life.
Immaculate Recovery has the subtitle as being: The Amazing True Story, Part 1 which indicates more is still to come. There is certainly more to Rick Laham than 166 pages can possibly bring to our attention, and I look forward to his continuing story in the future.