Letters: ‘Addicts have a conscience’

"I am a recovered addict since January 2007, when my addiction helped to take me to a federal penitentiary for women."

  • Feb. 10, 2017 6:00 a.m.
Letters: ‘Addicts have a conscience’

Editor, The News:

Re: ‘Time for a little honesty’ (Letters, Feb. 8).

Firstly, I would like to say that Alan Robbie is right about pretty much everything he said, and I totally agree that the RainCity shelter is more an enabler for addicts.

I am a recovered addict since January 2007, when my addiction helped to take me to a federal penitentiary for women. I say helped, because even in addiction we still have a conscience, and I do believe that we have to be responsible for our own choices and actions, regardless of our disease, illness or otherwise.

I was born with instincts of right and wrong, and I was raised to learn more of what that meant in responsibility and accountability.

I speak from experience, and if I was ever in a harm reduction situation, I would never quit using because my mental ability would tell me that what I am doing is acceptable.

These people that are using fentanyl now do not care about themselves or whether they live or die.

Fentanyl is a huge killer and these people see overdoses and death from overdoses every day.

Many of them have been through one or more themselves.

When they come to …  they are almost instantly looking for a way to get more because their high got ruined.

Yes, people have to want the help before it will actually help. They simply don’t want it and all this harm reduction talk is really a baffling prospect to me. There is no such thing.

I live in Alouette Heights and this whole situation and the way it was handled has had little success with people wanting and getting help for their addiction. The percentage rate  is even slimmer than what you would hear it is of people in addiction getting clean.

I know just about every person that was homeless when this all began, and I can tell you that except for three, everyone of the people I know got housed.

In my building alone, we have taken 18 people mandated from the shelter.

There is not one person in there still who was there  when it opened two years ago.

Some of the people moved in here were not from Maple Ridge.

This makes me wonder why this is still such a pressing issue … why are we continually burdened with the homeless who came here for a free ride to a free home and free food and a 24-hour shelter?

In Vancouver, there are few shelters where you may stay 24 hours a day, and the ones that are you are limited to a 30-day stay, and that is to deter you from choosing to stay in the homeless cycle like hundreds of those people do.  They do it to not have any responsibility or accountability to anyone, including themselves.

This I also know from living in homelessness and never wanting to stay there, but knowing many who do for the same reason that people become institutionalized and cannot stay out of jail for long periods. Because they do not have to accept life on life’s terms.

Instead, we have to accept them on their terms; It’s backwards and it does not help an addict, or a  person with mental health issues. It only enables them and makes it harder for them ever to choose to get clean or get tired of living in homelessness.

The mandate of forcing Alouette Heights to take the people from the shelter first has ruined this building in every aspect and has made it an unsafe environment for a lot of the tenants who were here before that.

It is full of people who have no respect for the environment, or our quiet enjoyment of our homes.

Please, someone hear this and everyone stand up for our community and for the place we call home and let these other homeless go back to where it began for them, and that community can deal with it and we can finally move on and help our own citizens.

Wendy McMurtrie

Maple Ridge