Thursday, April 12, 2012

Planting a Seed



Today we welcome Kate* to our Accelerated Opiate Detox...she’s been using a half to a gram of heroin a day. At age 16, she was put on strong pain medicine after a shoulder operation and she never really stopped using.  The Prescription Monitoring Program busted Kate for ‘doctor shopping’, and one day when she couldn’t buy pills off the street, she started on heroin. She turned 21 this month.  Sadly, not an unusual story.

During our screening interview, Kate was pretty clear she has no intention to do counseling or meetings after she detoxes with us.  Besides heroin, she’s also got a pretty robust alcohol, benzo and cocaine habit.  While I’m sure we can help her get and stay off the opiates—at least for the 8 weeks her pellet is present--I am concerned about her long-term prospects for staying clean.

Even at the young age of 21, Kate is a master at self-justification and making excuses.  Her sad childhood, torn by divorce, a mother who was not present, teachers who didn’t care and didn’t understand, friends who abandoned her, and bosses that fired her…her list goes on. Kate has made the invention of alibis a fine art.  She will get high because things are going well, or because things are going poorly.

My hope for Kate is that she will recognize, bit by bit, that conditions do not and have not caused her to use.  I hope that she will come to the recognition that she needs to change to meet conditions, whatever they are.  It may well take Kate some time to realize that erratic emotions have victimized her; the early phase of getting perspective on oneself is quite the exercise in humility.  But it is necessary if she is to move forward toward wholeness and happiness.

Today’s a start.  As a friend quoted recently from Robert Louis Stevenson, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.”  Hopefully, we will plant a few seeds today.

*Not her real name

Joan R. Shepherd, NP

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