Posts Tagged ‘addiction’

Dear old Gone showed up at our door the other week. He’d just been released from prison, where he’s spent the summer. It’s almost an annual event, him showing up in September, homeless, almost like he has a plan to help new Ministry Trainees learn good doorstep skills.

He’d thrown his prison release paperwork in the bin and first went to Rev Very Benevolent over in the next tow-un to ours. Rev V-B tried to help Gone find somewhere to live, but sadly the housing group who’d accommodated him before said they wouldn’t take him on. In fact, they’d been about to evict him before he went to jail.

The trouble for Gone is that he’s not really a criminal. He shouldn’t really be in jail. He’s a vulnerable and increasingly frail man with a serious alcohol addiction. And he’s enormously annoying and quite scary when he’s in the drink. And then charming and sweet and can talk the socks off anyone who’ll listen. But he’s frightened and anxious about other people, which makes him a pretty dire neighbour. And he can cause trouble and stress when he turns up somewhere boozed up. What he needs is something like an old fashioned asylum, where he’s not allowed out, not allowed alcohol, and not given his own money. He’d spent £75 of his getting-out-of-prison money on a portable dvd player and some dvds. He could have had a couple of nights in a hotel for that. But he’s incapable of spending money wisely and no-one will house him for long. So I guess in some ways he knew what would happen next.

Rev V-B contacted me a few days later to say that Gone had been conspicuous by his absence for a few days. And that he’d had a call to say that Gone would be up before a magistrate for another breach of his ASBO. So it looks like the prison service is once again expensively accommodating a vulnerable man who doesn’t fit in the system. And maybe it’s the only way that will work for him. It does seem crazy though. Pray with us for wisdom to know how to help him in his next foray back into the world a few months (I guess) from now.

Gone left his calling card in our flower bed

Gone left his calling card on our drive

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Gone is still here every morning, not gone. He’s taken to arriving very early and singing under the Queen’s window. Polly is on the floor above and she heard him at 5am the other day. The Vicar has put a note on the doorbell to remind him not to ring until after we are up. He has now retrieved his NI number somehow (he wasn’t around to call the helpline with me). He still veers between sad and apologetic and agitated and abusive.

Not a single one in sight!

Not a single one in sight!

We went to dinner at the Bishop’s on Friday night. The Vicar lost his bet with me about being the only vicar there without a dog collar. There must have been about ten vicars, and the bishop and there wasn’t a collar or a clerical shirt in sight. I very much enjoyed meeting some other local vicar’s wives (including the Rector’s Wife) and hope to be able to share some of their stories here.

One chap there recommended Betel as a possible place for Gone to find more long term help. The Vicar has arranged for Gone to have a telephone interview with them this afternoon. To be honest, I’m not all that hopeful that Gone will want to go and give up the booze. But I’m praying he will.

Heartbreak has been here on and off this week. She’s a troubled teen who’s living in a hostel because relationships at home have broken down. She has a college interview this week, though, and seems to be getting her life back on track. She seemed to enjoy church on Sunday, but had never seen communion before.

This week we’ve heard tales of one chap’s stint in a young offender institution and had our woodpile chopped by a man who wants to retrieve his life after spending nearly half of it in jail and on heroin.

We’ve also had the Sunday lunch I’ve been imagining since we knew the Vicar was going to be a vicar. A dozen of us around the table out in the garden. A mix of ages and races. A massive roast chicken and three puddings. Much laughter and a few tears (from a rather over-emotional Engineer). Warm chat about Jesus and about our neighbourhood. And identification of more mysterious (to me) Vicarage garden plants. Perfect.

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