What will the next stage in my evolution look like?

I closed a chapter in my life last week. But, as long as it’s note THE chapter of my life, I guess I’m sort of OK with that. You know, platitude-platitude-life moves on, get over it, when one door closes etc. etc. See, I must be OK because I know all the clichés.

Oh, and as an aside, it isn’t even a ‘big’ chapter. I am still happily ensconced with the lovely Miss W., I live in the same house, I haven’t won the lottery and Max is maintaining bowel regularity.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, the door to the option I had for addictions counseling in this community has now closed. Off-and-on for more than a decade – and at one point as a full-time calling – I have dealt with the wants and needs of substance abusers who want to cease being substance abusers.

It’s too bad, because I enjoyed the work very much. Why I went into it is a long story, but I ended up working with a few souls society (and officialdom especially) doesn’t much want to deal with in a realistic manner.

Addiction is a great equalizer and strikes at all levels of society. I’ve dealt with street-folk and jailbirds; ordinary middle-class men and women; professionals, a glamorous former model, and members of racial and ethnic minorities.

Latterly the group I was primarily counseling was the unemployed, delirious of getting back into the workforce. They, as an option to the rest of their back-to-work program were given access to the counseling offered by me. And I thoroughly liked working with them on a one-on-one basis.

I’ve written before how I came into the business via a sort of backdoor. Having been a teacher and then a journalist I, in 1998, wrote a series of articles for my paper on addiction (and its ravages) within the community. Some time after that I was approached by a local recovery centre to speak to the clientele. From there I went onto the board, and then later took training and qualified as a certified addictions counselor. A tired career in my life wasn’t a bad thing. I like diversification.

My more recent gig involved working for a private company, but still using the skills I had in place.

Then, last year, the government in its (ha!) wisdom decided that the job-search process should go to another operation in town. Which is fine. Shit happens. However, addictions counseling is not part of the mix with the other operation. It seems that officialdom, true to form, does not see addiction as an impediment to gainful employment as in: “Hey, maybe there is a reason some people cannot get or hold on to a job! And maybe that reason should be addressed, or at least an attempt should be made to address it.”

Such is life and such are politics and such is the pro-forma inability of most governments to look at social issues realistically. The government reaps a fortune from alcohol revenues – our most widely abused and lethal drug in any addiction study – but not a farthing of that revenue is specifically earmarked for helping the addicted and afflicted.

But this government, like most other governments is, to paraphrase Dickens’ Mr. Bumble, “a ass”. Seems to be in the nature of far too many who are attracted to the calling.

8 responses to “What will the next stage in my evolution look like?

  1. Praise to you for another provocative and necessary post and another that I agree with based on my own experiences with the addicted and afflicted, as you put it.

    i fervently wish that every policy maker, lawyer, judge and law enforcement officer, along with politicians, could be taught to deal realistically with addiction and its impact on individuals, families and communities and that the alcohol and brewing industries recognize and acknowledge their role in that process. In an ideal world, a portion of all profits from the sale of alcohol should be donated to treatment facilities.

    While many make the argument that using and abusing alcohol is a choice, they miss the fundamental point that for the addict, choice has been supplanted by psychological and physical factors that are beyond their control and until these are dealt with, the individual is on a slippery slope to ruin. We must get beyond the stereotypes that people hold and the money generated from the sales if politicians are to make meaningful decisions.

    Unfortunately, I am not optimistic that either of these will change and stupid decisions generate stupid results that can ruin lives.

    • Alas, your concluding statement is probably true, my erudite friend. Thank you for your thoughtful response to the blog. Needless to say, I have a lot of heart involvement in this business and there is always hope.

  2. The people who would have benefited a great deal from your dedication and compassion, will be missing you terribly, Ian. Yes, it is a very short-sighted bunch that make these important decisions. As you say, how much money is raked in from the sales of alcohol and nothing to help with the addiction. I shake my head in disgust.

    • Thank you, dear Sonya. I am genuinely touched by what you wrote and yes, and not to be hubristic about it, I was always motivated by dedication and compassion. If I hadn’t been it wouldn’t have worked. As a friend of mine in the business said, “If we can save one in a hundred, then that is one family saved and it all becomes exponential from there.”

  3. I imagine you will find something just as fulfilling and possibly more creative to do in your next stage of evolution. In the meantime, use your marketing skills to help out a charity.

    • Oh, I’m sure I will find things to occupy me, and the counseling wasn’t about money — ever. I’ve served lots of community organizations gratis and will no doubt continue to do so.

  4. Well, if the government uses all its hard-earned alcohol revenues to fund addiction programs, they’ll not only lose a part of the revenue to those programs but also lose revenue because people will be drinking less.

    Sheesh, Ian, you just don’t get the economics of it do you?

  5. Therein lieth the rub, Miss L. that is very much what it’s all about. And I do get the economics, but don’t have to like it.

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