Working at the largest long-term recovery program in our region, I am on the front lines of the addiction problem that is tearing our community apart. The sheer number of men and women that need our solution can be daunting. My experience tends to leave me swimming in pessimism, particularly if I focus on numbers and statistics. The success stories of our men and women is the only thing that keeps me resolutely planted in the trenches, leading the charge with a long-term solution. Personality tests have determined that I am both a staunch pessimist and starry-eyed idealist all wrapped up into one big contradiction of thinking. These qualities can be beneficial and act almost as a defense mechanism to all the harsh realities that I have experienced both on the job and with personal experience. These qualities also allow me to believe in the wonderful possibilities of this world and a life that long-term recovery can produce.
Being a realist, I take great appreciation when it comes to statistics and believe that statistics typically provide an objective outlook of data. Kayla Pierce, The Healing Place’s Financial Analyst, has done tremendous work into analyzing and presenting data that has been impactful on the sheer scope of the services we provide and the volume of those who desperately need help. Upon absorbing this data I asked myself the question what if?
Based on our current statistics, if each bed at each of our three campuses were filled by a different person every night, we would provide services to 250,000 people this year. Of course, there are multiples in this number as many of our clients stay for an extended period based on the services they need. Even though we can house this immense number of people, we are always at capacity and have an extensive number of people vying for our services, yet we are unable to accommodate them. This brings up the question: where are these people sleeping?
At The Healing Place, we house an average of 749 people a night. These staggering figures are evidence of the vast numbers of addicted individuals in our area who are dependent on our services. This population is a somewhat small sampling of the total substance abusing population. In fact, out of the 20.4 million adults in the United States who are classified as being substance dependent or substance abusing, 12.3 million (60.4%) were employed full-time (“General Workplace Impact,” 2012). These figures tell us there is a great need for expanded services in our community to fit the needs of the whole spectrum of those suffering.
The Healing Place is looking into new means of treatment and recovery options that will further help our community which will include transitional housing, alternative inpatient treatment, and a long-term monitoring program. It is a formidable task which will require new partnerships, vision, and renewed commitments; we know that each day these services are not available is another day of suffering for someone in our community and their families. There is truly no competition among agencies in our region for clients. It is believed that if everyone in our community struggling with addiction all sought help at the same time, only 12% would find the treatment they so desperately need.
There is collateral effect of helping that takes place for every individual who finds recovery. The program tells us to help others to help ourselves. This notion gives me optimism as I think of the sheer number of individuals who pass through our doors and the effect they will spread in their community.
Consider this staggering fact: in July alone we were unable to offer Detox services to more than 500 men due to lack of bed space. It makes both the pessimist and the idealist in me wonder where did they go and what would have happened to them if they had been able to stay at The Healing Place. It has been my experience that when an addict has a moment of clarity that leads them to finally ask for help, quick action is imperative because this moment can easily turn to a passing thought.
Mother Teresa once stated “Never worry about numbers; help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” This adage is difficult to heed when you’re the one turning those in need away at such a dramatic pace, but this outlook has become synonymous with what we are confronted with daily at The Healing Place.
The optimistic side of me tells me they might find the help they so desperately need elsewhere; the pessimistic side unfortunately knows the cold, literally dead-end reality of this disease.
General workplace impact. (2012). Retrieved October 9, 2015, from http://www.sapaa.com/page/wp_stats_workplace
Posted on October 20, 2015
by Laci Comer filed under