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Chris Salomons - Red Deer Advocate

As the kitchen coordinator at Potter's Hands, I am witness to plenty of strange, weird, funny, tragic, and wonderful happenings. But the greatest part of this work is the people that I meet. In this blog, I will introduce you to the people and things I observe, experience, and deal with as well as some of our plans for the future.

The ugly side of addiction

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Red Deer Advocate

Tuesday was a perfect day. The sun was out and the temperature rising to about 0 degrees and despite the chaos in the kitchen an hour earlier, dinner was in the oven and we were able to relax for a while before we were to serve.

The Piano Man was hammering out several tunes and all of us were humming along, so it was a good feeling for all of us in the kitchen.

What with the increase in numbers lately, I was anticipating a rather large crowd for supper and had prepared accordingly. Because our seating capacity is limited, I felt that we would need to have traffic control for the first time ever and made plans for that as well. We normally open the doors at four o’clock and start serving at four thirty.

Then at ten minutes to four, it happened! We have a small inset external vestibule where all the people come in and a young couple were standing there having a sharp discussion. As so often happens, words became actions and they started pushing each other, which soon became an out and out fight with both of them swinging fists at each other accompanied by a lot of cursing and yelling of other obscenities.

It took a while, but we finally managed to separate them with the fellow outside and the girl inside. It was everything we could do to keep them there till the police could arrive, but we managed and were able after the police had removed them both, to let the other people in.

Although this type of incident is fairly common, at Potters Hands Kitchen we have had relative peace for quite some time. There is an element of respect for the kitchen, and we do everything we can to promote that respect, but once in a while, the influences of alcohol or drugs takes control and there is then no stopping a situation without intervention.

What hurts the most is to see anyone, let alone a beautiful young couple, settle disputes with fistycuffs and cursing. For a lot of people, the physical attack is something that can be forgotten or forgiven over time, but the cursing and the calling each other vile and reprehensible names, is something that will always remain in the background of a person’s mind often building a wall that cannot be breached without extensive counselling.

Like I mentioned, this young couple are great kids. We have known them for quite a while and have never had difficulty with them before. They are always pleasant and very caring; I know that, because they often spend time with her mother in the nursing home and that is not an action of someone without concern or compassion. The difficulty here is the drinking addiction and addictions most often result in aberrant behaviours that range anywhere from opinionated accusations to mayhem without restraint, to uncontrolled fighting and even to murder.

If it was contained only to people on the street, it would be a much easier battle, but it is prevalent in all segments of society, (we all have addictions, whether it is TV or drugs, shopping or alcohol or whatever), and that is the very reason that we should not judge anyone group or person. Rather, we should with all gentleness and respect encourage each other to adopt a lifestyle that can change the unwanted behaviours and make each one of us a more acceptable member of society.

So then, before we point a finger, we should remember that there are several fingers pointing back at us.

As I see it.

— Chris

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