Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Betrayal on Skid Row #2
last week I wrote a post titled Scandal in Skid Row. In that post I wrote about people relapsing and the policies of a program in the Skid Row neighborhood.
Apparently would I said caused a bit of an uproar. I did not mention any person's name. I did not mention a name of any program. Every program has "packaged deals" and every program has a person who has relapsed who has the name John. I purposely wrote the post like that because I wanted to see what would come of it. I must admit I was surprised as to the events that unfolded.
The very next day, after I published that post, I walked into a program, a program where I had been a frequent visitor. I was told I could no longer use their facilities. I asked why but the director chose not to provide me with an answer. The director does not owe me an explanation.
Later that day I was told by someone that she had received numerous phone calls about the post. The phone calls came from individuals who worked for different programs in the area. They all felt that the post was talking about their program.
Hmmm. I was told that these programs were on an alert to watch out for me.
Why I would be of concern to anyone is a mystery to me.
No one has to leak information in Skid Row. There is a great deal of gossip on Skid Row. People love to talk about other people. It distracts them away from their own problems. The probability that the general gossip is accurate is low. If a person gossips about why an employee no longer works at an organization, chances are the information is false. People are very defensive when it comes to the veracity of their stories-almost obssesive. .
However, there is one area of the Skid Row grapevine where,invariably, there is 100%accuracy. That area of gossip involves the subject matter of who has relapsed.
That information spreads like a fire in dry brush. Instantaneously, the whole neighborhood knows who is the latest statistic. It is fascinating how someone can relapse in one corner of the neighborhood and on opposite end of the neighborhood, everyone knows about it. They also know where the person was living and if the person was working. Everyone knows. Having an inside spy to leak information is not necessary.
My point is that everyone knows the truth. Everyone in Skid Row sees what is going on. Sure you have some people who are angry at the world and can not wait to say something negative about any organization or program. It is easy to figure out who they are once they open their mouths. More than likely, they have been to every program and were kicked out for one reason or another. It is very easy to discount what they have to say.
It makes no sense to chastise me for echoing what the community observes and knows to be true. Some things are opinion and other things are facts. It is fact that a program sends their clients to certain buildings. It is fact that the umbrella company owns the buildings. It is fact that they relapse.
That scenario is not the exclusive model of any particular organization in Skid Row. It could apply to anyone. Perhaps that is why a program worker called to tell me that more than a few individuals, from other programs, believed I was referring to them. It was suggested to me that if people think I was talking about their program, then there is something about their program they feel is wrong.
Some people would say that they can not control what happens in their buildings if it is not a sober living facility. That is a 100 percent cop out.
I live in a building which is one of many that are by an affordable housing developer/property manager. It owns both sober living and non sober living facilities. It was discovered that people were using drugs in one of their sober living facilities. The users were immediately evicted and management called a meeting of all tenants in all buildings. They made it perfectly clear that if a a tenant was discovered using or selling drugs in any of the buildings that they own and/or manage, the police would be called. They gave everyone clear warning. They made a commitment to keep their buildings drug free and protect the tenants who want to live a drug free life and leave the drug world behind them. Two days later, the LAPD conducted a search of their buildings and anyone who was engaged in illegal activity was arrested.
The executive management made a commitment to their tenants and they also held They did not turn a blind eye. Other organizations can do the same thing.
Last week, Mark Groubert wrote an article in LAweekly,about a high end drug rehab facility in Malibu. Two more articles were promoted in the same issue. Among other things discussed in that article is the fact that many drug rehab facilities or drug rehab related programs started when licensing was lenient, and the industry was unregulated or lightly regulated.
I have talked with some City Officials and they, across the board, have this one question. "To whom are these non profit organizations and drug rehab facilities accountable?" Certainly, most do not have to be held accountable to their clients. Some are not held accountable to their own conscience. It appears that the domiminant controlling force are the investors and people who donate money. Corruption is rampid, not only in high end racilities but in low end ones as well.
Nobody wants to change anything and, for the most part, no pressure is put on the organizations that have terrible success rates to change. If anyone speaks out within any of these organizations, they are subject to be fired or otherwise disciplined.
That is why I commend the organizations that I know make a 150 percent commitment to recovery. They do their best to eradicate their facilities and any environment to which they are connected of any illegal behavior or behavior which is against their mission of a sober and clean recovery for those who are fighting to maintain that process.
Mark Goubert's article I hope will be the start of open dialogue about different attitudes concerning policies and cooperation within the Skid Row community.
Mr Goubert stated in his article that one when person is directly helped to escape drug addiction, approximately 20 more people are indirectly helped. It is fair to say that 20 people are indirectly hurt if policies are followed that direct clients, who have a propensity to do drugs, to environments where the have one foot in the relapse statistic category as soon as they enter it.
I must also say this. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of an individual to abstain from substance abuse. No rehab center or organization can make a person stay off drugs. One has to make that commitment to oneself. It is easier for some to stay on that path of recovery with unwavering focus than it is for others.
I believe that unwavering ethical conduct on the part of organizations is very important when it comes to helping those that have a propensity to falter when temptation rears its ugly head. An organization may do 80 percent of its activities flawlessly. Unfortunately the 20percent that falls in the cracks, is ignored or a function or short sighted planning or misguided priorities can washout the work of that productive 80 percent.
Lets do something to reduce the chances of that happening. When I speak, I speak to myself as well. I no longer will give someone money for cigarettes because to me that is only financing a habit that keeps someone chained to a life that is without independence.
Independence Day for America is tomorrow. America fought its independence every step of the way. It took one hundred percent commitment, sacrifice and team work so that independence could be experienced by all. Please, let us all give some thought to a renewed commitment to discuss and hopefully discover insights that will formulate creative methods so that those, who are saddled with active alcohol and drug addiction, will be able to experience the independence in lifestyle--the concept upon which this country is based.
Have a happy 4th of July.