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Please help me....
I work in one of the main streets of Adelaide,
Much like any other street in a capital city, there is a huge variety in the types of people who traverse it. At 8.00am in the morning I watch the business executives in Armani suits making their way to their offices, mobile phones pressed firmly to their ears.
A myriad of traffic goes by - I wonder where it is all going?
A well dressed woman hurries past, leaving the faint scent of expensive perfume behind her - I wonder what she was thinking?
A young boy in a uniform waits by a bus stop - I wonder which school he attends?
An elderly man, in faded clothes, unkempt, hardly able to hold up his own weight sells newspapers. I have observed this man for around 8 months stand at that very spot, day in, day out. A couple of weeks ago, he disappeared. I wonder what happened to him? And did anyone really care? He re-emerged a few days later looking worse for wear.
I watch a dirty man with wild eyes push a shopping cart full of his belongings across the road. I wonder who his mother is?
A drunken man falls over, cursing and swearing as he pulls himself to his feet.
The contrasts. City life. Sad.
How do you feel when you pass a "drunk" or "junkie" in the street? A barrage of emotions floods my heart. I feel:
Revulsion - why doesn't the person clean themselves up?
Shame - for feeling the above. I remember being dirty and smelly and not giving a rat's ass that I was.
Frustration - I want to throttle the person and tell them that life doesn't have to be that way
Shame - Who the hell am I to think I have the right to say that?
Anger - at "the powers that be" for allowing this situation to continue
Acceptance - that "the powers that be" have a good reason
Sadness - I feel the person's pain and misery - I have been there.
Fear - It is like looking in a mirror, I fear becoming that image again.
Gratitude -"There, but for the Grace of God, go I"
Hope - That when the time is right, that person will be given the opportunities that I have.
Humbled - Why was I so privileged?
When you have "been there" you can never look at these people again and feel nothing. They are our "brothers and sisters". We are always only one drink or drug away from standing behind them in the soup lines or fighting them for a warm spot on a cold night.
To give these people money is not an option, they will only spend it on their vice. To talk to them about recovery is also usually a waste of breath, the road to recovery is not controlled by us. It is my opinion that recovery begins with a genuine cry for help from the individual, not by well meaning people wanting to "change" someone.
So what can we do to assist?
If you are the praying type of person, then direct some prayers their way...someone's got to be out there listening. If you are a person who believes in energy flows, direct some positive energy towards them. If you are neither of the above, you can assist the organizations who help these people. Most of these groups are non-profit, barely able to keep their doors open. The problems caused in society by addiction are going to become far worse in the coming decades. It doesn't have to be a donation of money, it can be your time. Whether it's helping out with administrative work or "hands on", out in the streets. Perhaps even raising the awareness in your workplace about the realities of substance addiction. Every little bit counts. The addict themselves is only the beginning of the chain of pain and misery. The families suffer just as much, if not more.
We are either part of the problem or part of the solution. It is a global issue, like pollution. We all own it, because we are all part of the human race.
The next person affected by this disease may be your own son, daughter, partner or friend. Wouldn't you like to know that there were avenues for assistance when the person was ready to heal?
What will you do if someone approaches you in the street, genuinely begging for some sort of help? Will you be able to direct them? Get to know the organizations in your area...
You may not be able to change the world, but you can positively affect the space around you.
The following are some links that may be of some use in locating help for yourself or someone you know.
Alcoholics Anonymous International site. All age groups
International -For the families, friends and carers of alcoholics
Narcotics Anonymous - International site.
International - Support for the families, friends and carers of addicts.
International - Support for families, friends and carers of alcoholics/addicts
Copyright information.... This article is free for reproduction but must be reproduced in its entirety along with the authors' name and web site link. This copyright statement must be also be included. (c) 2001 - 2007 Michael Bloch, World Wide Addiction.com,. All rights reserved.
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