When Sam arrived from the emergency room, it was hard not to be worried about him. Even though he came in accompanied with his peer recovery coach, Sam had just been treated for a drug overdose. In a lot of ways, it’s my job to worry about him. After getting him settled in one of our rooms, his recovery coach left him to get some much-needed sleep. Later, I went home too.
Working with folks in recovery can be as difficult as it is rewarding. The people who come to the Upper Room are in a vulnerable place in their life, and I often go home with one or two of our residents still in my thoughts. I certainly did that night after Sam moved in. You always want the best for people who come here, but it’s a hard journey, and you learn early on that some people aren’t ready for it. Sam was in my prayers that night.
The next morning I was relieved to see that Sam was still there. Not only was he still there, he was sitting on the steps in front of the Church, waiting for his sponsor to come and take him for his assessment appointment at Oaklawn. And he wasn’t alone. A former resident was right there on the steps, waiting with him. I learned later that the guys from the Upper Room had been keeping vigil with him throughout the night, checking in, making sure he was feeling ok. I could have cried. Their compassion, the support they have for their brothers in the recovery process, is an inspiration to all of us.
That compassion, that community, is part of why this works. No one goes through recovery alone, and nowhere is that more true than here at the Upper Room.
*names in this story have been changed to protect privacy and anonymity