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Priest hails courage of drugs struggle couple
A VICAR has condemned people who despise drug addicts, saying: “That kind of contempt should shame our society.”
Father Tim Jones was speaking at the double funeral of a York couple who died within weeks of each other after “courageous” struggles with drug addiction.
He told mourners at St Laurence’s Church, in Lawrence Street, of his admiration for Michelle Maclean, 46, of Bishophill, and her husband Adrian, 48, of Holgate, whom he was proud to have known.
Inquests are pending into the deaths of Mrs Maclean, who died early in February, and her husband, who died just over a fortnight later.
Fr Tim said the couple had known “real pain, real suffering, and real struggle” in their lives.
He said they had loved each other, even though their relationship was at times very turbulent, and their lives had been full of hope.
“They both knew that there were things in their lives that had gone wrong, gone seriously wrong,” he said.
“But they never lost hope. They never stopped picking themselves off the floor and trying again.
“Sometimes they would just fall down, through their own weakness. Sometimes life would throw them down. But they were never satisfied to stay down.
“They had huge struggles with addiction, but they kept picking themselves up and trying again.”
He said their lives had been a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, but such people rarely got the kind of admiration they deserved from society.
“Those who know little or nothing of what it is to live with addiction can all too easily despise others for having issues to deal with in life that they do not share.
“Michelle and Adrian, for all their faults – of which they were well aware – were people of courage and each of them had a capacity for great personal kindness.
“An inability to see beyond someone’s addiction is a wilful blindness that does our society no good whatsoever.”
He paid tribute to the people and agencies who supported them, including counsellors and case workers at the charity Lifeline.
He said: “It is an absolute tragedy that Michelle and Adrian have lost their lives at a time when the drugs counselling and treatment services in York are going from strength to strength.”