It’s 9:03 on a Saturday Morning. The phone rings providing an unknown number. As a marketer, I instinctually take a deep breath to prepare myself. It’s a father. A father that desperately wants to get his baby girl into detox. I’ve already failed this man and his daughter earlier in the week. It’s not my fault. It’s not their fault. It’s just the ugly reality of Charity Care in the Addiction field. As I’m listening to his plea, I look out the window. It’s snowing. It’s snowing, it’s cold, and it’s only January 7th. The detoxs are packed, and so are the waiting lists. I know that my work is cut out for me. After nine calls I look over to my husband, CEO of our Substance Abuse Outpatient Facility and I tell him, “There’s nothing I can do. She’s going to have to go to the hospital and threaten suicide if she wants treatment today.” He immediately snaps back annoyed (as if I have some kind of magic wand or possess some form of fairy dust that can make the seemingly impossible possible.) He starts making calls. I stand in the hallway texting other marketers and posting on Facebook referral pages. He stands in the kitchen calling friends and colleges in the field. Our daughter cries on the living room floor because she’s not getting attention. We pacify her with grapes and play dough because we’re busy helping someone else’s baby at the moment.
No beds. No beds. No beds. No beds. No beds.
If there is a purgatory, as a marketer, mine would be a padded room where there’s a repetitive recording of a screener telling me there are…”no beds”.
Even as I’m writing this, she hasn’t been placed. She’s on a waiting list, and hopefully that will be enough to get her through the next 24-48 hours.
She’s never been to detox or rehab before. She’s never asked for help. She hasn’t abused the system. She hasn’t entered the revolving doors that we frequently come into contact with in this field. She’s brand new. A baby in Addiction. Someone’s baby looking for help.
With a nation so fettered with a drug epidemic of unimaginable proportions, you’d think we’d be able to find help. You’d think there would be some kind of action plan. Someone to call as a “last resort”. Instead, were forced to make someone lie and threaten suicide. We send them to the nearest hospital to jam up the inpatient psych unit and force care upon themselves.
In these moments, you can’t help but wonder… “How many want help, but can’t get it?” The unaware assume that alcoholics and drug addicts just don’t want help. (Granted, sometimes they don’t. ) What about the ones that do? What about this girl? What about this Dad? What does the next 24-48 hours look like for them?
I’ll tell you what it looks like… it looks like a father watching his baby girl shoot heroin in his living room because he can’t bear to see her in pain.
It’s not my fault. It’s not his. And right at this moment, it’s not even her fault. She wants the help.
There are no easy answers, all we can do in this industry is to try and keep trying. Fight the fight and continue making the calls. Even when we are trying our best, we still fall short.
It’s two hours later and she’s been bumped to the top of a waiting list. For now, it’s the best we can do.