“Good morning, Ted, I have some questions for you. If you don’t mind.”
“Go ahead, shoot.”
“There is a group that is planning to open an addiction clinic in the downtown area. Do you have any thoughts on that?”
“Is this going to be a safe injection site?”
“No, not specifically. It’ll be housed in an existing building. The facility will have twelve beds. There will be doctors, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists and counsellors. What do you think of the idea?”
“Yeah, it sounds like a good idea.”
“Do rehabilitation centres work?”
“Yes and no. I’ve been in rehab five times. I’m still an alcoholic, but they kept me clean for a while. The longest period was five years. That’s when I was living five miles in the bush of B.C. The outreach workers were great. Each Friday they’d walk the five miles into my camp to see if I was okay. They’d bring soup and other food supplies. I felt guilty so I said to them, ‘Instead of you walking here, I’ll be on the highway at eight o’clock every Friday evening.’ So, that’s the way we worked it out.”
“What was the best facility that you stayed in?”
“That would be in Vermont. It’s closed now. My dad arranged an intervention. He came to my apartment with two goons, they kicked the door in, threw me in a van and took me to this rehab centre. It was really expensive. I stayed a month and said I was ready to come home. He phoned the administrators and told them, ‘He’s not ready to come home. Keep him for another month.’ I was clean for about two years after that. It boils down to people, places and things. I was told not to associate with other alcoholics or drug users; to stay away from places that serve alcohol and to avoid anything else that I associated with drug or alcohol use. I have some brochures at home. I’ll bring them to you.”
“Thanks Ted, I’d appreciated that.”
“What about priority.”
“Well, old farts like me are a waste of time. It’s the youth that need guidance and treatment. You saw the Paramedic van in front of the youth shelter yesterday? There were two kids that had overdosed. Later a woman came over to me and asked for a smoke. I asked her if she knew anything about the two people who were brought out on stretchers. She said, ‘Yeah, that was me and my boyfriend. We’d overdosed on Xanax. They couldn’t wake us up in the morning, so they called 911.’
“I know so much about those places I could be a counsellor. In group sessions when you first arrive you’d have to give a statement. It would start with, “I am an addict and I can’t control my addiction.” Sometimes, when young girls were asked to describe their situation they’d start crying and say they couldn’t talk about it, the counsellor would say, ‘Go over and talk to Ted. He knows what’s going on.’ So, they’d come over and I’d say. ‘You have to be open and honest. You say you can’t talk about what happened, but the truth is that you’re not willing to talk about it. The only way this program is going to help is if you put your heart in it.’
“The counsellors would question me and I could tell them just what they wanted to hear. They’d say, ‘Ted you have such good retention of information.’ It was like going for a school exam when I’d taken the same exam five times before. These places all asked the same things.”
So how are you doing now, Ted?”
“I drink, smoke a bit of pot, occasionally take meth. I don’t drop two tabs like some of these kids; I cut a tab in half and take that. It helps with my sexual performance, if you know what I mean.
“I made a commitment this morning. I’m going to cut out the hard stuff. A couple of days ago I got really wasted. When I woke up this morning I had the shakes, my legs wire twitching. I had two beer, 4.9 per cent, and it leveled me off. From now on I’m going to stick to beer.”
Later, I was talking with Little Chester, “A group is proposing a drug and alcohol addiction facility in the downtown area. Is that something that would interest you?”
“No, but it would be good for the youth.”
“Have you ever been in a rehab program?”
“Yes, three times. Each time I told them the same story and each time they said, “We don’t want you here.”
“What was the story that you told them?”
“I said, “Each morning I wake up, get drunk, fall down and have fun.”
HOMELESS REHABILITATION CLINIC
Providing at no cost accessible, mental and substance abuse/addiction care for the homeless.
Utilizing a service system that emphasizes trust, respect, confidentiality, compassion, empathy and spirituality.
Collaborative professional effort and commitment from volunteers in the healthcare industry (Doctors, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists etc…), administrative support as well as spiritual direction.
STEPS TO BE TAKEN:
Register a non profit corporation and charity
Secure working capital for start up project
Be cash flow positive in 5 years
Purchase of a clinical facility and equipment
Developing and establishing a network of professional volunteers
Hiring and training administrative staff
Establishing relationships with healthcare providers
Creating community awareness
Building strategic alliances
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Sample my books for free — proceeds feed the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home; Conversations with Street People