In 'Visions,' recovering addicts depict the journey to rock bottom and back

Posted Thursday, Mar. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints


2 and 7 p.m. Saturday

W.E. Scott Theatre, 3505 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth

Tickets: $10 at the box office or in advance at 817-298-6649

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FORT WORTH -- Kay S. was 34 the first time she snorted methamphetamine.

The white powder, her husband told her, would give her an extra buzz and even allow her to drink more.

Kay tried it and could not stop.

Days became a dingy haze of drinking, snorting meth and, finally, shooting it intravenously.

"You don't care about anything," said Kay, 58, of Fort Worth. "It takes everything from you. It takes your brain. Your life. Your family. Your work."

A year later, Kay was swept up in a drug bust and charged with possession. She lost her daughter, her home and what little remained of her life.

But the arrest also saved her. Now Kay is trying to save others.

On Saturday, she and other recovering alcoholics and addicts will perform Visions, a play that depicts drug addiction, alcoholism, rock bottom and recovery.

Performances will be at W.E. Scott Theatre in Fort Worth's Cultural District.

"We want to carry the message of recovery to those who are still suffering and need it the most," Kay said. "People have to realize there is hope. They don't have to live like this."

'We have to hit

rock bottom'

Visions was written in 1991 by Bob L., a New Jersey man who used short breaks on his job at an automotive plant to pen vignettes about drinking, doing drugs and hitting rock bottom.

Since then, the play has reached more than 30,000 people in treatment centers, halfway houses, community theaters, churches and jails nationwide.

This is the play's Texas debut.

Every scene centers on an addict hitting rock bottom.

A husband steals money from his wife's purse to buy drugs.

A prostitute learns that she has contracted HIV from intravenous drug use.

A salesman's drinking sinks his business.

Bob said he has watched grown men weep while watching the play. A teenager once told him that it saved his life.

"This hits close to home for a lot of people," Bob said. "Our message is ultimately one of hope, but first, we have to hit rock bottom."

Cast members, who go by only their first names, as required by 12-step programs, have spent the past few weeks memorizing lines, rehearsing scenes and getting a crash course in acting.

Some have been in recovery for years, while others are newly sober. Most have never acted.

Joe M. of Burleson began dabbling in drugs with neighborhood kids when he was just 11. At age 43, an arrest finally jolted him awake, he said.

"Something told me I had to change," said Joe, now 50.

"I couldn't go on like this. A friend got me to a meeting, and it was the best thing I ever did."

In Visions, Joe plays an abusive husband who goes into a rage when he comes home to find that the beer is gone.

For cast members like Joe, Visions has been therapeutic yet excruciating.

A couple of Fort Worth actors dropped out because the scenes unearthed too many dark memories.


Janell F., who plays a prostitute, spent years bouncing from one addiction to another -- drugs, alcohol, abusive husbands. When she finally sought help, she realized that she was addicted to love.

"We're all trying to fill a void," said Janell, who lives in Dallas and has been in recovery for a year. "We're all self-medicating. At my core is an addiction to love."

Watching the play, Kay recalled her own rocky days of recovery.

At the time of her arrest, she had not slept in 15 days, and her weight had plummeted.

She spent four days in jail and 34 days at a treatment center before moving into a tiny trailer and attending up to five Narcotics Anonymous meetings a day.

Ordered to complete community service, Kay was given a job selling tickets to Les Miserables at Casa Mañana, which sparked an interest in theater. Over the years, she tried to write about her experiences.

"I could never find the right words," she said. "I just couldn't find a way to tell my story."

Kay came across Visions during Internet research and knew immediately that she wanted to bring the play to Fort Worth. When she came into a little extra money last year, she contacted Bob.

"If we can save one person from the hopelessness of addiction, this will be worth it," Kay said. "There are people who desperately need to see this."

Sarah Bahari, 817-390-7056

Twitter: @sarahbfw

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