For those of us who are on the outside of addiction and looking in trying to better understand what it's all about, I have a few suggestions.
To better understand the nursing aspects of addiction, you could speak to an RN or a student nearing graduation with a nursing degree. They can explain to you much of the discomfort that is associated with the healing process, especially in the early stages thereof.
If you're interested in having a better understanding of what goes on in the brain, you could speak to a neurologist or a neurosurgeon, or a student advanced in their studies. This person could give you a reasonably clear understanding of what the patient’s brain is doing and how it's been damaged by the drug use and how it tricks the person into thinking one thing when reality is actually something else.
If you're wondering what addiction does to one's spirit, you could speak to a pastoral person of whatever spiritual persuasion is best for you. This person could give you a better understanding of the battle between the disease and the spirit.
If you're wondering how addiction affects the person on the social level and within the family, you could sit down with a social worker and learn about that aspect of this.
If you are wondering how addiction affects the person from a legal perspective, you could sit down with an attorney or a police officer and ask related questions.
And here's the kicker to all of these suggestions…
You don't need to sit down with a currently working RN or neurologist or neurosurgeon or pastoral person or social worker or attorney or police officer. You can find several of each on the streets of Kensington and ask them about their professional insights as they live within the nightmare of the topic.
Their professional credentials may have been stripped from them due to their disease but they still have their professional insights.
I've had this privilege many times over almost 6 years. I've listened as these professionals explain their own addiction from their professional perspective and how much they despise the situation they're in.
As our conversations conclude, each one goes back to doing what their disease tells them they must do. Some will go to their preferred street corner to be picked up by some random guy. Others will make their way to that store where they can easily steal something to sell on the streets. Others yet will stand in the street and ‘panhandle’ to raise funds. Each of these persons will then buy the drugs that their body demands, and inject or otherwise consume them quickly.
It is not likely to be their professionalism that will help them find their way out of their personal nightmare. That will only come when they choose to surrender to the healing process and claim victory over their disease.
It is their professionalism that will give you insights into their situation of street-bound addiction like you have never had before.