Sometimes addiction counselors don’t seem to have any kind of feel for addiction in the real world; for what it’s really like out there where the rubber meets the road; where people who are actively addicted will lie, cheat, and steal--even if they are not fundamentally liars, cheaters, thieves. But Raymond Bryan of Hamilton, Ontario, would not be that kind of touch-feely counselor. Not at all. As The Hamilton Spectator put it: “Who better to work as an addictions counselor than a 49 year-old man who robbed two banks while high on crack as a means to fund his drug habit?” Who better, indeed? Who wouldn’t want to line up for that guy’s counseling services, especially among teens and twenty-somethings in treatment, for the coolness factor alone?
After wrestling with alcohol and drug addictions in the 80s, Bryan got on top of things in 1992, shed his addictions, and began a successful career as a drug counselor. But, well, the relapse monkey is never far away, and last fall, Bryan fell back into the hole, injecting cocaine, smoking crack, until the day he showed up at TD Canada Trust and a nearby Teacher’s Credit Union in Hamilton, waving a utility knife and wearing a very memorable red sun visor. He got $200 and $3,860, respectively. Or rather, what he really got, so far, is 211 days at the Barton Detention Centre, with a lot more to go. Bryan promptly kicked drugs again, became popular with other addicted inmates, and found himself back in his old line of work—but behind bars this time. Having lost both his career and his wife, he told an Ontario Court judge that he would like to return to his former career. The judge said: Not just now. Bryan was sentenced to an additional 29 months in jail. Assistant Prosecutor Brian Adsett, noting the irony of the situation, said: “This is the difficulty the courts must deal with when there is an ongoing battle with drug addiction.”