Last January we started a new Al-Ann group at our Alano Club in St. Joseph, Missouri. We have just finished restoring the room.
About a month ago, while working on that room, a woman came in the building in a frantic state of mind. Her live-in boyfriend began drinking again after about 10 months of sobriety. She told us his name and I recognized him as a member of our AA group that meets in the building. The building caretaker was there and he and I decided to go on a 12 Step call. Jason is a USDA meet inspector with 24 years on the job. He was on a two year probation for a DWI.
We found Jason in the apartment, drunk on a couch, a half gallon bottle of vodka was half full on the coffee table. We woke him up and found an extremely intoxicated man. He told us he was trying to drink himself to death. He did not want our help but I felt we had a medical emergency so I told him he had three choices: He could let me take him to the hospital or he could ride in an ambulance or the police could drive him to the hospital. He chose the ambulance. The ER checked his blood alcohol level – he hit .489 – definitely a medical emergency.
State funding this year was cut for addiction treatment and our local (St. Joseph, Missouri) residential center closed, along with the facility for detox. I sat with Jason in the ER and asked the hospital to do a mental health evaluation, I felt Jason was a danger to himself. The mental health social worker arrived and after a brief interview decided Jason could go home. I made a deal with Jason- I would take him home if he agreed that I could come back in the morning at 10:00 to pick him up and he could help us with the work on the Alanon room. He agreed. I took him home. The next morning at 10:00 there was a note on his door “Tommy – I am not here”.
I went to Alano to work on the painting project.
That Saturday afternoon, about 4:00, a man (Henry) called my cell phone and introduced himself as a friend of Jason’s (a fellow USDA meat inspector). Jason’s girlfriend had called him. Henry said he had Jason in his car, that Jason was very intoxicated, and that Jason had agreed to go to treatment. They were calling me to find out where to takJason. I made some calls to area treatment centers and found a opening at a center about a hundred miles from St. Joe. Henry agreed to give Jason a ride to Treatment.
I met Henry and Jason at Henry’s house and we again called the treatment center and gave them the information about Jason. They looked him up in their computer and found he had been there a year before and still owed them $3,000. I told Jason and he said he would put that on his credit card when he arrived at treatment. The treatment intake person asked if Jason was suicidal. I replied, “No, he had a mental health evaluation the day before at the local hospital and they determined he was not a threat to himself. The intake person said they would require a copy of that mental health evaluation before they could admit Jason. She gave me their fax number.
We drove to the local hospital, me in my car and Jason riding with Henry. I arrived first and went in to tell them what we needed. The nurse said that he could get the file and fax it but that Jason would have to sign a release. The nurse also said that Jason would have to be coherent before they could release the information. Catch-22. Jason needs the report to get into treatment but he has to be coherent to sign off. The nurse and I talked a moment before Jason came in in a wheelchair, pushed along by Henry. Jason was too intoxicated to walk. The nurse walked over to Jason with the release form on a clipboard and asked, “Is your name Jason?” “Yes,” slobbered Jason. The nurse look at me and said, with a grin, “Coherent”. Jason signed and the report was faxed and Henry gave Jason a ride.
Two weeks later Henry called and said that Jason had an out-date of Saturday August 23. Jason’s girlfriend would not let him come back to their apartment. Henry asked if there was some sort of half-way house available. I gave Henry the information about a local Oxford House that has an opening. I also called the treatment center and gave them the information to pass along to Jason.
On Sunday, August 24th, Henry called to tell me the most recent chapter in the life of Jason. Jason had checked himself out of treatment on Friday the 22nd and somehow found a ride home. Apparently very drunk, he sent Henry a text, “If Tommy C. thinks I am going to an Oxford House then he can just go fuck himself”. Jason found his girlfriend and she gave him his truck – a newer model Ford F-150.