It is early when the alarm goes off. 5:00am! Why would anyone want to get up at that time to go to work? The traffic is light as I head west on I-84 onto I-5 south. Morning has always been my favorite time of day.
The office is quiet, the overnight Crisis Line Staff fills me in on calls and updates me on need-to-know information. I log in and, as the red light disappears from the side bar announcing my successful entry into the system, the phone rings.
My first call of the day is about to start.
“You’ve reached the HelpLine, this is…” I listen as the caller describes the throws of addiction and the need for treatment. The all-too-familiar story of no insurance, no support, fear, humiliation and isolation pours out. “What can I do, where can I go, and how the hell did I get here?”
Employing listening skills, the methods of gathering information and opportunities to use encouragement, I work with the caller to find a reasonable treatment option. Reminding the caller that it takes a great deal of courage to call and ask for help, I compliment them on their strength. We make a plan to ensure the information is understood and followed, and then end the call.
I feel good that I was able to find appropriate resources, yet am still concerned for that caller. The addiction demons are very strong and they will need a great deal of support and inner motivation to get clean. Yet before I can dwell on this call, the next one is ringing in.
For the next 6 hours, one by one the calls come to “The Line”. Four lines in all: Suicide Lifeline, Alcohol/Drug Helpline, Military Helpline and Youth Line. We answer them all. Using compassionate and empathetic listening skills, non-judgmental discussion, resource and referral technology, we attempt to relieve the caller and help them with whatever crisis they are in.
They are the connection that makes me whole.
– David D.