Miss Bee’s Bolivar Buzz

Shannon WilliamsBy Shannon Williams
There are some days that it is hard not to be very despondent in today’s world. To me, being despondent is feelings of doom and gloom. I have always been a news watcher, but it is just getting to harder to watch the news. With all that is happening in the Middle East and Ukraine, you can try to remove yourself from it, as it is so far away, and tell yourself that it really does not affect you, but is that really true? Just to see the destruction of people’s lives and homes is heartbreaking, makes you wonder if we are becoming a world with no value for others.

Then we had the events in Maine this past week, now that is a little closer to home, while it is very far away, it is a small community much like those on the gulf coast and one of the places that you would not expect to have such an event. The problem is that there is no place that is free from those types of events and they come and destroy so much, and for what?

While most of what I have just mentioned could be called gun violence, is it really the guns did not shoot themselves? Someone was behind it and used it and that is what we have to begin to look at and address. We just have no resources for those in crisis with either mental health or substance abuse and these days it is almost a combination of both. This along with the substances that are so destructive to the person and the body, compared with 30 years ago, is just killing so many people directly and indirectly.

This past week a dear friend lost her step grandson to substance abuse. It was called an auto accident but it was the direct result of substance abuse. He had a fight with his family about his substance abuse so got in the car under the influence and drove off. It is assumed he drove till he ran out of gas and was walking along the side of the road and was hit. The person who hit him did not stop, who knows if they too were impaired and had no knowledge that they had hit someone. This friend and I go back to my first job, which was as a social worker at the local State Hospitals on the substance abuse unit. This was in the early 80’s and it was a system and program that worked. If you needed help and could not afford one of the many private substance abuse treatment centers of that time, you could go to one of the programs in one of the several state hospitals in Texas. There was a network of “detox centers” that you could go to anytime and get 3-5 days of medically supervised detox while you waited for a bed in the substance abuse unit. The program was 90 days long and after that we could send you to a halfway house to practice living sober in the community. This treatment worked for many, I still get calls from some of those I worked with to let me know that they are still sober after these many years.

The program started to get cut down to 45 days, the detox centers started to shut down due to the lack of funding and halfway houses just went away. It took about 5 years, but soon the state decided that it would no longer provide substance abuse treatment with that model, but they replaced it with NOTHING. If you were in the criminal justice system you could still get some treatment, but it just all went away and at the same time the private treatment centers began to close, where there are very few left and those that are have costs that very few can afford.

There are still the 12 step programs, thank God, but often people need more to get started. For years, I have worked with many friends, family and strangers who asked for help for themselves or someone they loved in dealing with substance abuse. I always recommend a 12-step program, but am often told, “I don’t want to go to meetings.” Well, who wants to do anything that is hard and tough, we would rather stay in the pain we are in then be uncomfortable for a short time and to ask for help. So, as my friend and I talked about her step grandson and his life and death, we both wished for some sort of program such as we had worked in, as we knew it worked. It is just so sad that we have nothing to help, so it gets worse and worse and then effects so many people.

Again, it is hard to wonder what is the world coming too? What have we become, I just could not shake those feelings last week and the TV news and social media were not helping at all. But what did help was a small child! My own step Grandson, who is almost 2. I had offered to keep him so Mom and Dad could get prepared for his little brother to arrive this week.

Children just give you hope and it was needed hope. We went off to the petting Zoo in Port Bolivar, which was just too fun and we both laughed and smiled as we fed pigs and goats and other fun creatures. My faith in mankind (Womankind) was renewed, as I had put him in the car seat wrong and thus it was difficult to get it unlatched. I was struggling and I have problems with the strength in my hands. Well I finally asked a young mother that was walking by for help and that she did, being so kind as not to laugh and to be as sweet as she could be.

Later in the day we took him to Ghost on the Coast. He was not sure of it all, but we did pretty good for a short while. He was dressed as a fireman, as his daddy is a fireman in Houston. The First Responders just made a fuss over him! Both of these events reminded me that there is good in this ugly world and it comes from very simple actions from people who are just trying to live life and be kind. It is going to take all of us to stomp out the ugly that is taking place right now and that might mean extending kindness to the least of us. While it is very easy to smile and treat a young child kindly, it is much harder to extend that to those who are, well not so nice, but your kindness might give them enough worth to try and make their life better, who knows, but what have we got to lose. So, thank you to the kind lady who helped and the goats who loved on me and Luke and the first responders who thought he was a big deal. You all took away some of the ugly.

[SW: Oct-31-2023]

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