Sunday, August 31, 2008

story time

For the sake of the story, we'll consider only the present, not the circumstances that brought you to your current situation.

Imagine with me, that you are a forty year old woman who stays in a shelter. All your friends live in the shelter. Many of your family stay there, or at least the people you call family. Your immediate family is dead or estranged. Someone close to you, close enough to be your sister, dies; passed out on the street in the freezing cold, frozen to death. You decide that you want to quit drinking, and sniffing, and well, all the drugs. Where to you go from here.

First, there's detox. Lucky for you, in this particular city there is detox in the same building as the shelter you stay at, so you know where it is and know a lot of the staff. Some of your friends harass you a bit about going, but everyone's pretty shaken up about the death. As your time in detox progresses, you get lonely. It's HARD coming off everything, although eating three meals a day and having a bed and a blanket isn't so bad. These people seem so much more together then you. You can barely read and write. What now? Your friends on the outside are begging you to come back while the staff are encouraging you to stay. But regardless of that battle, detox is only ten days, what next.

Here are the facts:
1. You have an addiction
2. You have no housing, and where you stay now is not sober at all.
3. You have no employment
4. You cannot read or write
5. You're dealing with severe grief
6. You're friends want you to come back and drink with them

so, what do you do?

Honestly in the time I've spent working with addictions, it's five and six that cause the most difficulty. The others are HUGE barriers, but there are solutions, and ways of dealing with them. But the grief and pain are so great, and the peer pressure is incredible. How would I deal if I had to change my entire life; alone.


Reas Kroicowl said...

yeah, that's tough. The reality is she probably won't be able to stay sober for long.

cb said...

That really reminds me of a situation I dealt with (or didn't deal with because I couldn't do very much) when a man came out of hospital. He wanted help and to stop drinking but there weren't any places in rehab so he went home and his friends helped him (and shared their beers) when the formal services couldn't. It is hard. You can't help but think about it. But I look at what is possible - things that we can change - and try not to dwell on the things I can't. I say that, but it is much easier said than done. It's hard not to put yourself into that position at times. The only way I can work it is by ensuring I never take what I do have for granted.