Monday, December 22, 2008

Discussion on Addiction

Originally posted on the Portland Mercury Blog:

Posted by el cubano on December 12, 2008 at 1:11 PM

I just wanted to share something- while this might be hard to talk about, I wanted to ensure that it's not impossible. I'm 25 years old and I'm a year away from graduating at PSU- when I was younger, I had an addiction to drugs that lasted a few years and was homeless for a while as well- couch-surfing and whatnot if not sleeping out of my own car while I was trying to get a job that would scrounge up enough money to be able to afford rent in the L.A. area.

I was lucky enough that I had some family support, although I had to move all the way across the country to Miami to be there to get it. I had heart palpitations and was having all sorts of health issues, including trying to quit smoking to be completely clean. While I'm certainly not perfect now, I've definitely turned my life around and I know that I can stay clean, healthy, and happy- but the will definitely has to lie with the individual and they absolutely, positively have to leave whatever life they had behind in order to move on to a better one.

It's a shame, but it doesn't look like Diver has gotten the support he's needed to be able to do that, since he apparently felt a connection to those people in Gresham in that lifestyle again. It hurts to not have family support, and to not have good friends who are willing to help you through those dark times and won't bring you down. I hope he can pull it together and make it, and as for you Sarah- believe me, it's possible!

Posted by Steve Kimes:

Sarah, first of all, I really want to thank you for your article, and for your update of Diver here. It must be hard to correct a good story, even if you didn't write anything wrong. Ankles and I give you an honorary "breakfast pie" piece for your excellent effort.

But also to respond to El Cubano above. Diver has all the support he wants, if he wants it. Either from his mother, or from our community, which is a strong family, complete with arguments. We all want him to succeed in being clean and in living a positive life.

But there is another community that pulls at him. A community that encourages him to endulge, not really understanding that it means his death and it cripples him spiritually. And he's lived in that community for as long as you, El, have been alive. It's hard to surrender a whole life and begin a new one. We who have done it keep going back to the old life until we are really ready to surrender it.

The road to freedom is different for different people. The reasons for addiction are complex and the solutions can be even more complicated. Chronic homelessness is even more complex still. There just isn't a single answer-- sometimes not even for one person.

But I am confident of this. Diver has left before and returned. When it is time, he will return.

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