I heard the stories of some of the homeless. They all conceded that life on the street and drinking alcohol inevitably lead to suicide. Sooner or later the desire to end it all crawls deeply into their soul. It doesn’t happen right away, not in one day, but it happens.
PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF
Almost every day I discovered something new in the substance abuse field. I learned how to recognize the symptoms that occur before and after a relapse, and what goes on in the patients’ families. This piqued my professional interest more and more.
I no longer tried to get the patients to like me, nor pretended that I am in recovery. I would rather try to understand them.
In fact, I, too, was slowly undergoing profound change. I became more tolerant and less demanding of instant metamorphosis from anyone. I learned how not to judge.
This was a strange period in my life: I was growing professionally and, at the same time, I was experiencing a spiritual deadlock. All my efforts to better the lives of the patients didn’t produce the results I expected; many of them used any means to remain in their misery.
Over time, I began to imagine drug addiction as a symbolic street—a long and winding road. Such a street exists in any city, village, or populated area.
You can find yourself on this street via various paths, each taking their own. One person might find themselves there due to hereditary, a genetic predisposition to alcohol and drugs, while another came there under peer pressure, and someone else, out of curiosity. (I use the image of the street in this case as referring to drug addiction, not the harmless occasional consumption of alcohol and drugs).
Of course, no one was going to linger on this street for long. For the first time in life, when raising a glass of wine or smoking the first blunt, no one does it to become a drug addict or an alcoholic. No one believed that it would happen to them. “It could happen to anyone else but not with me.” O, ye.