Street Tales: Spring brings the hope of a new start

We waited and waited but spring just never seemed to arrive.

There were a few teasers; -15 C one day then 15 C the next, but winter seemed to hang on tenaciously.

Driving along on the east side of town, the trees were budding and a bit of green was starting to show. The double flowering plum bush in our yard was starting to blossom. Right on time for Mother’s Day.

Then I realized why spring is such a special time.

It’s a time for new starts or beginnings if you prefer.

So, in my normal thought processes, I got to thinking about new starts and how special they can be.

Especially for someone who has been on the down and outs for a long time. At the kitchen, the expectations are extremely high for the spring and then summer.

For the folks on the street it represents that time of refreshing after a long winter.

Gone are the heavy parkas and double layered pants and shirts.

You can almost see the lift in their spirits as the weather turns warmer. But in some cases it can mean a lot more.

So many people suffer from seasonal depression and the effects can often lead to addictions which are devastating to watch.

They just cannot seem to shake the negatives in their hearts and minds; the longer the winter, the harder it seems to be able to shake it off.

For many, being house bound, spring presents the opportunity to get out and be more active.

So the new season usually gives a huge boost to our spirits and lifts us up.

Spring. For some it presents a time for change which happens to many.

For others though it seems like that heavy weight on their backs gets harder and harder to shake off.

It also presents a challenge to people that desire to help as well. There is no better time to help the person who needs a hand up.

The idea of helping them to stay in their addictions is just totally foreign to me; finding ways to help them change is what is really needed, and for most of them it is what they truly desire.

I have been told that I do not understand addiction, but I beg to differ. I was addicted for 53 years.

Cigarettes, mind, you but addicted none the less.

Anti smokers threw up huge roadblocks and made it harder and harder to smoke when and where a person wanted.

Then there were the health issues. You know where I am going with this; there was no efforts made to accommodate my smoking, no safe smoking sites; it was quit or die.

So I quit, and I have never looked back.

There have been many who have come through the kitchen and have done just that.

They quit what they were doing and now are living proof that it is the better option.

Depending on the number of years they were under the influence, the recovery is often just a bit short of where they were when they started.

The longer the addiction, the longer the recovery and the end result although much, much better than being drugged up, will often leave them dependent on some prescription medication to combat the damage done.

Of the ones we have personal contact with, even though they still suffer from the after effects of the drug life, just to be able to see them enjoy life as it was meant to be enjoyed is all the drive a person needs to justify helping individuals in making – a new start!

Chris Salomons is the kitchen co-ordinator at Potters Hands.

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