I’m desperate for the weekend. I keep reminding myself that when I’m busy at work, it means I’m doing more for people and that’s a good thing. I’m satisfied by this job because the majority of the people I see every week make me feel really appreciated and capable, so I’m not going to pretend that doing social service work is a selfless act. It does get draining though. People have success in treatment (or else, they relapse too much and too often) and leave, but it’s a revolving door of new people in need of help. A big part of my job is to facilitate admission for new clients and a small, yucky part of that is turning away people who aren’t appropriate for our program.
It doesn’t happen too often, because before I’m face to face with someone they’ve been pre-screened, but every once in a while I have to tell a desperate person that I can’t do anything for them. I point them in other directions when I can. Too often they’ve already tried alternatives and come up empty. Sometimes, I can see someone has done the best they can and still lacks any good option. And yes, sometimes it’s a healthy dose of someone standing in their own way that can be blamed. Either way, it’s Christmastime. I don’t want to discourage anyone.
I’m not responsible for anybody else’s problems. If I thought I were, I would be absolutely horrible at this job. We all have to have agency over our own lives to be healthy. I try and give people tools, help them navigate the system, or at the very least, I listen. But it’s not my responsibility to keep someone safe or keep someone sober. The reality is, heroin is risky. I don’t meet clients until they’re already sick. If someone does succeed in recovery, I know Methadone helps, I hope counseling helps, but they’ve accomplished something that only they deserve credit for.
I hope that the people who do get discouraged find their way back, or to the right place. It would be nice to think that everyone just ends up fine but that’s not how this thing works.