Sometimes homeless addicts just wanna be homeless addicts

Among President Donald J. Trump's (R) inspiring guests at his State of the Union address was Albuquerque Police Officer Ryan Holets and his wife Rebecca, who adopted a little girl they, significantly, named Hope.  While on duty Holets encountered a pregnant, heroin addicted woman, Crystal Champ, about to shoot up. Imploring her not to shoot up while pregnant he offered to adopt the baby.  He then worked with Champ and her partner, presumably the father, to get her into rehab but, as CNN reported last month, it was rough going.  

After their story was reported, a number of substance abuse treatment centers offered to help Champ and Key. Holets, who received a city award for his actions, has tried to convince them to take advantage of this opportunity to get the help they need.

This week, CNN found Champ and Key living with a friend in a ramshackle RV park and explained how a number of treatment centers had offered to help her get into a rehab program.

But the grip of heroin is so fierce that she has struggled to accept the offer.

"I really don't have a desire to get clean, and that sucks, because I really want to," she said. After a long pause, she added, "but I don't."

Champ said she knows how difficult it is to get clean. A rehab program worked once before, but a year later she relapsed, which led to her current life, homeless for two years.

"I'm scared I'll get clean and not find the comfort that I find in my life like this," she said.

Let's repeat that: "I really don't have a desire to get clean, and that sucks, because I really want to," she said. After a long pause, she added, "but I don't."  "I'm scared I'll get clean and not find the comfort that I find in my life like this," she said.  These honest remarks reveal the complexity of self destructive behavior and the difficulty of rehabbing. It also shows how hard it is for an individual to abstain for the long term from this behavior and engage in more constructive habits and actions.  

But that was last month and this is now, post State of the Union spotlight. So how are the addicted birth parents doing?  People Magazine offers a somewhat optimistic report; 40+ days after the birth parents finally went into rehab

Hope’s birth mother Crystal Champ and her partner Tom Key are approximately 40 days sober.

“I lose track of time with everything that’s going on, [but] I was recently talking to Crystal on the phone and she was saying she’s excited because their 40 days mark is coming up,” Holets, 27, told CNN’s New Day on Wednesday. “So I don’t know if it’s past 40 days or just about there. But 40 days sober, that’s incredible.”

“It’s a hope I always had,” he added of their sobriety.

Holets had the hope.  But did the hopees, Champ and Key?  

 Champ, who has battled addiction since she was a teenager and had been homeless for more than two years, spending up to $50 a day on scoring hits of heroin simply so she can “get well.”

“I did give up. I just decided this was going to be my life,” Champ told CNN — adding that she tried to multiple times to get clean, but always failed. “It just keeps coming back and ruining my life.”

Maybe this time they'll be successful. For a time at least. Maybe they won't. According;to the National Institute on Drug Abuse 

In addition to stopping drug abuse, the goal of treatment is to return people to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and community. According to research that tracks individuals in treatment over extended periods, most people who get into and remain in treatment stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve their occupational, social, and psychological functioning. For example, methadone treatment has been shown to increase participation in behavioral therapy and decrease both drug use and criminal behavior. However, individual treatment outcomes depend on the extent and nature of the patient’s problems, the appropriateness of treatment and related services used to address those problems, and the quality of interaction between the patient and his or her treatment providers.

Like other chronic diseases, addiction can be managed successfully. Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s powerful disruptive effects on the brain and behavior and to regain control of their lives. The chronic nature of the disease means that relapsing to drug abuse is not only possible but also likely, with symptom recurrence rates similar to those for other well-characterized chronic medical illnesses—such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma (see figure, "Comparison of Relapse Rates Between Drug Addiction and Other Chronic Illnesses”)—that also have both physiological and behavioral components.

In other words, their chances of beating addiction are very iffy.  The same complexity is true for homeless people, another new liberal discovery, who are often homeless not because of high housing costs but because of of addictions combined with deep psychological problems.This must be acknowledged before any rehab of any sort begins.

But I wish Champ and Key the best. And little baby Hope, born prematurely and addicted, who went into rehab the second she was born, wishing she has success for a happy, productive, long life.  And cheers to the Holets family. And many thanks to the president for honoring them.  

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