Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

I'm working Christmas Eve. Here in the Downtown Eastside Vancouver.  I'm seeing addicts who have chosen a different direction in life.  Leaving injection adulterated heroin and the darkside they've begun their journey of recovery taking oral prescription methadone.

"Methadone is a godsend,"  my patient just told me.  He's looking to return to work.  No longer fearing the deadly diseases associated with IV drugs, he's looking to return to work in the New Year.  "I couldn't work."  Heroin had taken over his whole life. Now he has a girlfriend whose also on methadone and they're celebrating Christmas together with turkey dinner.

So many of my patients have had the last dime of their money taken by the drug pushers.  Drug pushers are sad.  At the top of that dung heap is the guy addicted to money. At the bottom is the guy whose psychopathic devolution is such that he'll enslave his fellow man for his own comfort.  Most of my patients are just victims.  They used their welfare checks, turned tricks, gave blow jobs to bullies, did petty crime. When they'd had enough self abuse they walk through the doors of Doc Side Medical Clinic on Main Street.

There are other such places.  Clinics where methadone doctors are licensed to help this marginalized population of ill.Some start their journey going to NA and AA.  Others start here , stay on methadone maintenance like any other medication but become abstinent in all other regards, return to work and families, pay taxes, and return to law abiding citizens remembering their days of addiction as a bad nightmare.

Right now my friends are helping the homeless with coats and food.  Many of those helping once had addictions themselves. Not all homeless have addiction. Too many of the homeless here are those sad and tragic people who because of mental illness were well cared for in state mental institutions. Now those have closed and too many of the mentally ill are the prey of the drug dealing predators, those parasites on society.  Too often I see the families of the mentally ill who can't wrest their loved ones from the representatives of organized crime.  The police do all they can.

We do what we can.

(Patients come and go. It's steady.)

Christmas eve is the lowest time of the year.

In the morning we will celebrate the Birth of Christ.  Hope for a new age. The promise that another year will come and life will move forward.  In pre Christian days the winter festival celebrated the hope of the new year.

The crocuses come out in February here, at latest March.  Patients seem so low then at some nadir they rebound and come back as if from the dead.  Dark night of the soul.  The 'bottom'.

The New Year comes that way.  This year waning.  The light dwindling.  Then the return of the sun.  My generation's Beatle song "Here Comes the Sun!" celebrates the spring as none other can.

The renewal.  The new beginnings.  And a baby cried in a cradle.  A new age began.

There is hope.

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