Wednesday, November 30, 2016

War on Sober Living Homes in Orange County

For NIMBYs, alcoholics and addicts are the lepers of our times
And sober living homes are the Ebola hot spots that breed property value loss crime
A NIMBY concerned over property values, noise or second hand smoke
To a man or woman would want to alcoholics’ or addicts’ rights to live next door revoke
Sober living homes are not magnets for saints
But to condemn all is to with a far too wide brush paint
A home with each person therein that day sober and clean
Is a home filled with residents far more tranquil not likely to raise a scene
Following a 12 step program is a great way to approach the challenges all find at time in one’s life
That sometimes are overwhelming and seem everywhere, way too rife
Not with a needle or bottle or sadly with a gun or a knife
But with the aid of God and apologies truly meant to dampen the effects of strife
A NIMBY might scorn an alcoholic or addict as lacking will power to not pick up
Totally ignorant of the power of this disease when even with the 12 step shield the urge erupts
Crushing the walls of resistance like an incoming tide washes all sandcastles in its path
The alcoholic or addict is washed out to sea without a preserver, boat or raft
If lucky he or she may make it back to dry land
Shaking, wondering if it will be different or the future urge he will withstand
Alcoholics and addicts when not drinking or using are not citizens of the second class
Unless in the early stages of detox one would not even know if one were to walk past
Unlike the Jews under German rule, they do not wear a yellow arm band marked with an “A”
Only that there is a much higher percentage of smokers might be the clue to give them away
Or that out of habit from attending meetings on introduction only a first name would be displayed
But if using or drinking it would be hard to conceal and your reflex would be to quickly move away
In the same way we cannot drone our way out of our struggle with radical Islam
We cannot jail them into extinction when they are not threatening us with harm
Or call the nuisance police each time a butt is thrown on a sidewalk or flicked onto a lawn
But do for serious nuisances repeated again and again of those that even alcoholics would frown on
I might not want to live near a “sober” living house if many within were not sober or clean
Nor would I want to be on the road with untreated drunks coming and going in a steady stream
A car driven by a drunk is a 3000 pound deadly weapon of steel
And an addict still using is a highly focused individual who to support his habit will steal
If for liquor stores we can limit the number, concentration and proximity to residences, churches and schools
One would think that such similar reasonable regulations for sober living homes would prove to be a valid tool
But banning them outright from neighborhoods cannot be permitted
If we ever hope to have a chance to have those suffered back to sober and clean life be readmitted  
A balancing act of the rights of the NIMBYs and the rights of the alcoholics and addicts in recovery
That would be easier to obtain if elected officials and NIMBYs made the “it’s a disease” discovery.
© November 30, 2016, Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet 
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