I sometimes think that, after over 30 years at BHT, there is little more that could surprise me. But two things this evening have impressed on me how wrong I can be.
This evening (17th January 2017) I went for dinner at our Addiction Services, something I like to do every couple of months. It is an experience that never fails to move me. The accounts of how clients are determined to overcome their addictions is humbling, their courage awe inspiring.
One resident moved me to tears. He said that he is sixty and that this Christmas was the first in 50 years that he hasn’t been drunk. He spoke of his gratitude to the service because his gaining sobriety means that his eight year old son will never again have to see him drunk.
Another client was so determined to gain a place in the project that, in order to attend the pre-admission drop-in session, he had walked from Eastbourne (where he was in temporary lodgings) to Brighton, a distance of 22 miles.
i can’t imagine what these two clients must have gone through to achieve what they have. It is far too easy to dismiss those in active addiction. About twenty years ago I heard a worker in a drug prescribing service write off the prospects of recovery and abstinence by using the grotesque expression “once a junkie, always a junkie”. Thank goodness such attitudes have (largely) disappeared. And thank goodness that there are people in recovery who show just what is possible.