A lesson from the trenches

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mahatma Gandhi

Delayed grief. I’ve seen so much of it over the years in working with clients.

It’s now hitting home. My own sorrow is emerging while working in the trenches with our nation’s deadliest drug epidemic ever. A few days a week, I consult at a local outpatient facility that specializes in drug addiction and mental health services. One of my clients in his early 30’s, has lost over 10 friends (and still counting) from fatal overdoses over the past four months. Two of them, I worked with directly. Even the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office can’t keep up.

Opioid and other prescription drug abuse isn’t just taking out our young people by the droves. Nearly 14,000 people age 45+ died from an opioid overdose in 2015–42% of all such deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The actual number is probably much higher. Overdoses in older people are often mislabeled as heart failure, a respiratory issue or linked to a fall.

So how did we get here? Over-prescription. In 2012, 259 million opioid prescriptions were written by their physicians. This translates to one script for every adult in the U.S. Who are the new drug dealers? Older Americans are now selling their painkillers to drug dealers to raise needed cash. As Mahatma Ji would probably say, dark and “dirty feet”, indeed.

Well, if you’re still reading this blog, I give you credit. I’m not trying to depress or scare you, really. I need to vent!

My clients who died were good people. They were gentle and beautiful men who got lost in their dirtiness. Heck, we all hold loads of dirt within us. To uphold what’s right and good, I choose to remember them in their happiest sober days at the clinic. And I shed tears because I can.

Perhaps, you or a loved one, are also shedding another layer of worldly dirt and tears?
Bravo then, courageous ones as you allow yourself to feel, let go and hopefully, hunker down with the Divine.

With much love always,

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