I was comforted to hear Hope House co-founder Peggy Day remark that the day-home service is open to people who are slightly intoxicated — just not people who are falling over drunk or picking fights while drunk.

It’s that level of patience that is needed to help guide people through their addictions recovery.

Anyone who has quit tobacco or alcohol for any length of time can attest that cravings can hit you at any time, wherever you are. Those who are parting ways with stronger substances will note these cravings can be far more intense. Simply avoiding the triggers that bring on cravings may not always be enough.

So it is important for those of us not undergoing addictions recovery to be patient with those who are. Not unlike recovering from trauma, a person trying to pull themselves out of a destructive habit may be subject to mood swings, low-energy days and other social trip-ups. As far too many people in the North have experienced first-hand, a good chunk of addictions are rooted in trauma — usually developed as a coping mechanism.

In hand with patience is communication. Another excellent development offered through Hope House is access to counselling services. Meanwhile, in Tuktoyaktuk the unrelated House of Hope is providing a safe space to talk for young adults. Both of these are excellent starts, but we need more communication to help both recovery and prevention of addiction.

Standard messaging for drugs and alcohol in schools is “Just say no,” which works fantastic for youth. Young adults may need more convincing than “authority said don’t do this” — usually when you hit a certain age that begins to have a reverse effect. Both House of Hope and Hope House are providing another essential service in aiming to give young adults sober activities to do in communities with few jobs and fewer niches for people aged 18 to 30.

House of Hope is aiming to connect young adults to Elders, but it may be pragmatic for our young adults to hear not just the wisdom of Elders but also the hard-earned wisdom of those who have been through the struggles of addiction and lived to tell of it. Hearing the experience and results of addiction can be a pretty strong deterrent.

Ultimately, having patience and compassion for those who slip is key to bringing them back. Expecting addicts to simply toughen up and quit cold turkey has a pretty low success rate. It’s often said it takes a village to raise a child, in that sense it also takes a village to heal someone.

So I commend both Hope House and House of Hope for their efforts in providing a lifeline for young adults. Without healthy and productive activities to keep busy and support to find meaningful work, people will turn to whatever can get them through the day. These organizations are providing an essential service in this community. Hopefully the Town of Inuvik, the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, the Gwich’in Tribal Council and Inuvialuit Regional Corporation can come together to sponsor more organizations like this.

Because it is no exaggeration to say these places are saving lives.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

Leave a comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.