Addicted to ....

It always takes me a while to process a day in the life of someone with an addiction.

It is a privilege to be able to work with these clients, quite scary too as their behaviour can be very unpredictable. Many of them have had, and are still living with the effects of traumatic events that you and I could never, ever begin to imagine. It is very sad.

What they need is understanding, compassion and stability, so when we work with them in the detoxification unit, we do not judge them. They receive medication therapy, support, self help strategies and a daily structure that normalises and regulates their day. 

It is not an easy journey. The detox programme involves the client gradually reducing the substances that they are addicted to, or replacing them with an alternative.  It can be dangerous and sometimes fatal if it is not managed in a specialist environment with monitoring and treatment facilities.

Unfortunately it can be a long road for them. If they cannot steer clear from the addictive behaviours or environments that surround them when they go home, they may need to come back to detox, and then go on to rehab. They need to break the habits, of drugs, alcohol, sometimes both, and friendships, relationships and environmental factors. It is easy to judge these people, especially when you see them on the streets, scruffy, being loud, sometimes using threatening or unusual behaviour.

Many people with addictions however, live a "normal" life, hiding their secret, trying to function in their daily lives. Professional people, people in regular jobs, Mums, Dads and grandparents. "Highly functioning" adults.

Many have personality disorders, mental health issues and they need to be medically treated. Nobody is exempt from the threat of addiction in some way.

We need to think about our perceptions of people in general.

If they are not like us, if they do not fit a certain mould. They may look dishevelled etc, fatter or skinnier than us, "at the back of the queue when **** (enter your phrase, looks, noses, personalities etc) were given out", (have you said this?) This does not give any of us the right to judge them.

Any one of us could have been susceptible to abuse, could find ourselves homeless, having to deal with traumatic events or have some unexpected life event that cannot be avoided. If that was you, ......what would you wish for? .....

Pat Taylor