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More often than not, here at Sanctuary House, we’ve noticed trends in the recovery process. Among others, there is often a need for addicts to rationalize inappropriate behavior in the areas of conformity and responsibility. The first 30 days in a halfway house is the time-frame where making excuses on how funds should be spent begins and reasoning go out the window. This is enhanced when that Social Security check arrives and all good sense gives way to a cycle that puts the addict squarely back to ground zero. Rather than meet their obligations to their own shelter cost, food, and rehabilitative services, they often find themselves, with a fist full of cash, in areas that are dangerous, with safety being a minimal concern. It has been my experience, working with addicts, that there is a false sense of security, as believing that with a monthly funding source, that doing the right thing is only appropriate when it is convenient to the moment. Afterwards, the addict is often without financial resources within the first 3 to 5 days, leaving them little option but to re-check back into a local hospital, detox facility, or rehab center, costing the Americal tax payer millions in revenues that could otherwise be used in funding healthcare and preventative measures. Local law enforcement is often pushed to the limit during this same time period, with calls for help from local residents caught in the “high risk” areas.
In the gay community, methamphetamine use is soaring, along with crack cocaine use, and alcohol.
Social Security should enact a mandate of recipient payess to individuals struggling with this issue and help, through example of how funds should be used, until such time as the recovering addict can reasonably manage the obligations that come with being a Social Security Disability Benefit recipient. I do believe that addiction is a medical issue and if the “trigger” of addiction is better handled, the process of recovery would be an easier transition back to social understanding, responsibility to one’s self, and alleviating the need to pad the pockets of recovery institutions that are quick to accept the addict back, when often, the addict is used to treating the “hospital” as a hotel.
Jared C. Cashner, CCR, N.P.