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End it For Good shares solutions to drugs and addiction

  • Christina Dent’s own experience as a foster mom made her curious about the protocol for addressing drug addiction and recovery. 

You do the crime; you do the time.

Christina Dent, the founder and president of End It For Good and author of the book Curious, once shared this black-and-white thinking about how to treat anyone who committed a crime, including drug addicts. 

But when Dent’s foster parent journey exposed her to a different side of addiction through the life of her foster child’s mother, her heart and mind were changed. Being research-driven, Dent read Johann Hari’s book Chasing the Scream, a game-changer in her thought process. She wanted to share what she learned and started hosting book discussions. The first was in Jackson, Mississippi. But after that first discussion, the word spread about what Dent was doing, and soon, these discussions were happening throughout the state. That’s how End It For Good was born. The organization received its non-profit status in 2019. 

Hari’s book inspired the discussions, but Dent constantly found more stories of families learning what she learned; ending the “war on drugs” and adopting a health-based approach to drug recovery was better than a criminal justice approach. When COVID shut down the in-person discussions, Dent was inspired to put her own story on paper—Curious: A Foster Mom’s Discovery of an Unexpected Solution to Drugs and Addiction.

The Curious moment 

Dent said it was her own experience as a foster mom that made her curious about the protocol for addressing drug addiction and recovery. 

“I met the mother of one of our foster sons in December of 2015. She just allowed me to see her humanity and her deep love for her child, and at the same time, she was struggling with an addiction to illicit substances,” said Dent. “And that changed my perspective because it made me curious about what was going on in her life.” 

Dent, like many, had black-and-white thinking about drug users. Only bad, selfish people did drugs. But this experience changed her as the mother continued to show up for her child. She showed all the traits Dent had as a mother: wanting to spend time with her kids, bond with them, and know every detail. 

“She is a mom like me. And so, I have misunderstood something about drug use and addiction,” said Dent. “I want to know what is true about it because if I want to help kids in foster care, then maybe one of the best ways I can do that is to understand what’s going on with drugs and addiction and how we could get better outcomes.”

Culture change needed to End It For Good

While traveling for the book discussions of Hari’s Chasing the Scream, Dent found herself in rooms full of people who all had common experiences with loving someone who was an addict. But Hari was not a man of faith, as many in Mississippi are. Dent found herself in rooms full of people who were morally torn on how to address these addiction issues. This brought on the need for her to write Curious.

“In the events that we were hosting, there was (a need for) something helpful and something that could help people engage even more deeply if they had a way to wrestle through the questions that were specific to those value systems for conservative people and people of faith,” said Dent. 

If real change was going to happen, Dent needed to bring people along on this journey with her. 

“All I really wanted to do in the book was take people through my own learning journey and the events that changed my mind,” said Dent, “and to allow them to wrestle alongside me as I was wrestling with all of those questions that came up as I learned. Then I had to try to put that into my value system and the things that I was concerned about.”

Curious impacts 

Since Curious was launched, Dent has experienced feedback that is far more valuable than the numerous awards the book has received.

“People in law enforcement, people in the faith community, people who have children who are incarcerated, and people who are in recovery,” said Dent. “They’re reading it, and they’re discussing it together, and that’s been one of the beautiful gifts of writing the book and then of receiving the reactions to it.”

“It’s just amazing how many different people with different life experiences have found it to be really powerful and very healing for some of them, very thought provoking,” said Dent. “And I absolutely love that because there’s nothing I love more than respectful discussion on tough issues where we really can learn from each other instead of just hurting each other.” 

You can learn more about End It For Good and Curious at EndItForGood.com.

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