I have a new friend, sober and clean six months by the skin of her teeth, fighting like crazy to stay clean — and to spend her time finding new activities. Find some new people to talk to.

She has a job now, at a local restaurant that is supportive of the struggle and understanding of how gut wrenching it can be. No car, though. If the job continues to pan out, that could be waiting around the corner.

What should she do when treatment ends at 1 p.m. and work starts at 5?

There’s a book she’s been reading at the library during the two visits she’s made over the past few weeks. Intrigued, she gets up the courage to see if she could get a library card. She’s nervous to ask. She’s from a neighboring town and she finds out it will cost $15 for three months. There is a procedure of course. But she can walk back tomorrow with the money loaded on her debit card.

She returns again. Gets the book: “Oh good! It’s still here!” Ah — they neglected to tell her it’s cash only. So she can find an ATM right? She can walk to one on this freezing day, after she’s walked a couple miles already to get to the library, this third time. She asks about a suggestion box; truth be told she is in tears now, I expect, looking irrational, looking like someone newly sober. She is told she can walk to city hall to file a complaint.

In telling me this, she points out that there are drugs available all over town: “They’ll spot you and you can pay them tomorrow. No problem. Oh, and they’ll ask where’ve you been? Missed you!”

Elizabeth Dostie, LCSW

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