I want to start by saying I absolutely LOVE my job. I am a Chemical Dependency Technician at an all male residential treatment facility. It is both very rewarding and can be a bit heartbreaking.
Periodically a client comes through that I make a connection with on a deeper level. This has happened a few times. These guys will open up with me, share their fears, their hopes, and pieces of their life.
With one I discussed books, movies, psychology, addiction and so much more. There was so much depth to our conversations. He is absolutely one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. He’s been out of the house several weeks now and he still crosses my mind daily. He was my first hard goodbye or until we meet again. He offered to go with me to see something in Theater (not movie) in a year if I haven’t yet gotten around to going (a year is the time period between a client leaving and when there could be a friendship between client and Tech).
Another client had a bit of a sweet tooth and kept his candy in the office and would take a few things from his stash nightly before bed. He would often times offer me candy, but policy is that I can’t accept anything from the clients and I can’t give anything to them. I would always have to turn his offer down, but it never stopped him from trying. He left the house the beginning of this week, he still stops by the house daily, today he brought me a Hershey’s Bar. He is no longer a resident, so today I accepted it from him. He has a smile that meets his eyes that could light up any room.
Then there is another client; we discussed addiction, recovery, we debated topics, we took turns playing Devil’s Advocate, and during the last few weeks of his stay we began to share with each other what we were grateful for every night before he went to bed. This quickly became my favorite part of the day. Last night was our last night of sharing what we are grateful for. His time at the house has come to an end. He’s told me and others how much our conversations have helped him, and I can honestly say that they have helped me in many ways as well. I will see him periodically over the next couple/few weeks which is great, it’ll allow us to touch base and possibly even share what we are grateful for on those days. He is also my only connection to my theater guy so he will be able to keep me posted on him during the next few weeks. After that though, I won’t have any way of knowing how either of them are doing for the next year or so. I have no doubt that they will both do great.
This is what I’ve learned so far:
- It does not take long at all for a connection to form between two people.
- My job is very bittersweet
- I’ve learned that I have the ability to hold a boundary even when I want to shatter the hell out of it. I’ve never fought so hard to not hug someone in my life (this applies to all 3 of them)
- I’ve learned what it feels like to be told that someone is grateful for me (pretty amazing)
There are many other things I’ve learn in various conversations with these guys, but those are hard to put into words and will just stay with me.
These are great guys and I am better for knowing them. I admire their courage and strength. Their will to fight for themselves, their will to keep getting back up regardless of how many times they’ve been knocked down. One of the guys would often pose the question, “what’s different about this time?” and my answer today is…You, my friend, are what’s different this time.
I could not be more excited about what lies ahead for the future of these guys, they’ve got what it takes to make it, and I hope I get to see the paths they take (after a year of course). At the same time, it breaks my heart a bit that these guys aren’t in my daily life anymore. They’ve certainly left an impression.
It’s not goodbye, it’s see ya later.