Commentary by Vickie L. Smith
I am writing in response to the Grapevine regarding the editorial, “Stop the Homeless Death Penalty. “ I am writing this as a recovering addict and a person who dealt personally with homelessness. The article states “We hear from alcohol and drug addiction experts that alcoholics and addicts will slip on their path to recovery. “Relapse is not requirement to recovery: all individuals working or living in the world of addiction know this. Many addict recover without ever having to relapse.
The other truth about addiction is that the cruelty of this disease makes it imperative that the addict faces the consequences of their disease. If the diabetic chooses to not take their medication, they will hav a consequence and it can be as severe as death. Addiction is no different. If a person chooses to pick up after experiencing recovery, they to must face consequences, If they do not face the consequences they will eventually end up in jails, institutions or die as a result.
You can hear this reverberat4ed at any AA, NA , or CA meeting in the Cleveland area. In these meetings you hear about bottoms and what it took for that individual to hit their bottom. Social Service Agencies coming in and raising that bottom to somehow exclude homelessness as a consequence are not doing the suffering addict any justice. Although many of these rules may seem heartless, this disease alienates fathers from their children it turns mothers into prostitutes and kills at random.
Part of addiction can be homelessness and I have heard many stories in the 12 Step Meetings that homelessness is what turned the addict’s head to begin the road to recovery. Enabling the addict is the worst thing anyone can do. Recovery from addiction begins with being accountable for ones actions, not blaming it on someone else.
Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle March-April 2002 Cleveland, Ohio