DEAR ABBY: I am a 25-year-old white male who, until recently, thought I had everything going for me. I had a wonderful girlfriend, a good-paying job, a nice apartment and a nice car. Then I began to use intravenous drugs and before I knew it, a year had blurred by. Today I have lost everything, everything!
I began to burglarize homes for money to buy drugs. I have lost all that was dear to me and am currently serving time in prison for burglary. While incarcerated, I lost my father to cancer, and the hardest thing I've ever had to do was walk down that church aisle to pay my last respects to my father -- escorted by two guards and in shackles and handcuffs! Dad was always there for me, but I couldn't be there for him in his last days.
Also, I found out that I have AIDS from using someone else's needles, and I don't know how much time I have left.
I want to run to every teen-ager, grab them and scream at them, "NEVER, NEVER TOUCH DRUGS!"
If I survive my incarceration (2 to 4 years), I want to tour schools and try to teach some of these kids before it's too late by telling them what I have learned. I can also tell them what they will miss as I'm finding out now: I can't have a normal, healthy relationship with someone I care for, for fear of infecting her. I will never know the joy of fatherhood because the AIDS virus could be transmitted to my child. There is so much in life I will miss -- and all because of drugs. -- TOO LATE FOR ME
DEAR TOO LATE: If you never get to "tour schools," you will have performed a valuable service by writing this letter. As you can see, I have printed your letter in full. God bless you, young man.