Phoebe's Gift

Phoebe's Gift
Gifted to me while on Retreat at John's River Vally Camp

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

(11) New Steps in Recovery Conversations

I took Alfred out for Thanksgiving breakfast this year at Shatley Springs, and only once admonished him not to raise his voice and he was able to adhere to my request. He ordered the number three with ham, eggs, biscuits, and coffee.

This year I reminded myself not to show impatience toward him so I brought a book, a journal, and my cell phone to amuse myself, to be sure he had time to eat because he enjoys eating and takes what seems like a long time. We talked some about pleasantries such as Shatley Springs mounted fish, the piano, the heat, and by the end of the meal Alfred was joking about Shatley Springs having talking coffee pots as he poured me the last drop of coffee from our second full pot. Then just like that!

Just like that I got a whole new take on the issue of helping Alfred recover. Whatever his journey of recovery it would not look like I envisioned it, it would however look different than the sorrowful handcuffed and bagged route offered by our system, the one option they had would not work, it is old and ragged, rusted, and worn. It is as the Social Worker advised against and Alfred said, "they will kill you."

I put one and two together and came up with a third step, inching along toward recovery.  I saw another person at the table, not just any person but a person who knew things, a person who would sit and eat with us, converse polity without too much determination, but one who would tell Alfred of his rights and privileges as a recipient of Medicaid and SSI. They would not be threatening him with guardianship, medications, or interment, but they would be gifting him with a message of his rights to use or not to use the services for which he qualifies.

It is a new tactic, build on his increased trust in me, and will be a new way for Alfred to look at recovery, reclusive Alfred, a way that will empower how he sees his options for the future that he can either refuse of accept. Treated like a human being, he will have the information he is not able to process because it's told in threats to his safety.  This time, in a new way the story will be told in different tones, with different meanings, without threats, differently. 

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