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An Extended Aside
or, "How This Is Moving Forward"
Now, I’ve placed our protagonist in a fairly impossible situation. I’ve yet to delve into how much time he is losing every day in dead commuting time. Poor economy of time as well as income and resource. I want to step away from our protagonist for a moment to touch on a few points.
When I began this project I had a loose idea of what I wanted to lay out here. Based on my experiences of going through treatment and coming out the other side and moving into the field of addiction recovery…I kept notes. I was looking for a way to present those notes. That entry into the field itself happened to coincide with the start of the lockdowns three years ago. As time went on, I became familiar (with many, many others) with telemedicine as a means of keeping up with the clients on my case load. Not ideal, but I did discover that there was some of the material was completely conducive and adaptable to a remote environment. Some of the routine and boilerplate material like instruction and demonstration of life skills. Okay, there’s an angle.
Time goes on and between various roles and functions I started to see a larger picture emerge. A broader picture of the landscape that exists for the portion of the population dependent upon social services for sustenance. I will go so far as to say that the social services sector (by intent or happenstance, doesn’t matter, here we are) has created and maintains a subculture of dysfunction. That there has been created, a market sector devoted to the creation, servicing, perpetuation, and maintenance of dysfunction and dependence. Motive being irrelevant for the time being.
In looking at an extended timeline of the addiction recovery process, that transition and growth process; from point of discharge from residential inpatient treatment, to transitional housing, employment, educational advancement, interaction with social services, etc. through to independent living – it’s a grim and foreboding landscape fraught with danger. Not just for the addict in recovery. The environmental conditions that exist, for the average public high school graduate, entering the unskilled labor force in Minneapolis today, the not-post-secondary-educational-track-material graduate are just as grim and for many of the same reasons as the addict in recovery. That realization dawned on me when I decided to enter the unskilled labor force after last years state senate run. It was an opportunity to experience the environment, the course of action, that I had been advising clients to take post-treatment. An environment not conducive to recovery. An environment of demoralization and degeneration and dysfunction.
Boy howdy was that an eye opener. I was familiar with the institutional environment, the IOP environment, the meetings, the systems navigation, insurance billing and charting client behaviors, attending groups, court proceedings, interagency interactions, more – but not that last mile, the day in the life when you put all the components together. What kind of life are these poor SOB’s looking at on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. Hourly. Experientially. It reinforces in my mind, with concrete and steel – the importance of self-agency in escaping poverty on every level; economic, environmental, intellectual, vocational, holistically. Escaping the environmental poverty of transitional or subsidized housing, public transportation, universal healthcare, life at the minimum required standard. Subsidized subsistence – bondage to the State. Bondage via services.
A hopeless condition until one decides that they desire change, transcendence from one state to the next highest, one only advances with the development of self-agency. Progress demands it, equity demands it, upward mobility demands it. Question becomes – How do I convey that? Instruct in that, mentor, model, communicate the components of that?
Thinking about it…it’s really as simple as starting off with a hybrid of shop class, home economics, and finishing school. To demonstrate the basics, to instruct. And when I say basics, I mean BASICS.