Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween Hope

Thirty women looked suspiciously as we marched in armed with root beer, ice cream, sugar cookies, and story books. One can hear them thinking, "Who are these goody goodies and why on earth are they here?"

It's a new group of women. Most aren't familiar with me or Jodi who goes so much more often. They are new to drug rehab. This group still appears unsold on their own recovery. I notice a few petty comments and snaps at each other that show one house in peril.

Six years ago when I first started coming, this would have unnerved me a little, but today, I simply meet their eyes with a smile. I look with love, knowing I will leave today with new friends.

Jodi begins the class. Good news goes on for a bit. It is an opportunity for Jodi to teach - to witness the recovery and hope she has witnessed here. Are they listening? How many really want to change? How many are only here because of a court order? Well, I can't judge which ones will make it, nor do I care. I have a few hours to love.

In circles we yell, "Monster! Pirate! Candy Corn!" Someones head gets bopped, then another and another. Laughter roars through the three circles. Women exchange names. Laugh. Night comes and the werewolves come out... the villagers hold court and vote on who to shoot with a silver bullet. "Please can we do this again?" We do. "We can do this in our houses." one says.

"With our kids."

"We can use this for bonding time."

"Who'd have thought we could have fun without drugs?" Adds another.

Jodi passes out root beer floats while I tell silly children stories.

Never have I seen better shoes go "shake shake!" or pants go "wiggle wiggle." The women laugh. They even cry. I wonder what memory or thought is triggered by the Little Old Woman Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. I said, "This little old woman was like the woman here. They'd seen it all. Nothing could scare them." One girl answered, "You have no idea."

"I knew it." I continued. This is YOUR story about how you face things that try to scare you and get in the way of your treatment. You look at them head on and say, "You can't scare me!" then you deal with your demons in a creative way."

As we left, the women crowd us. Gratitude beats on us from faces turned sunny from sullen.

"This is the most fun I've had since treatment began."

"Didn't this morning go by fast?"

"Will I ever see you again?"

Thankful for my circumstances and the opportunity to stretch for a few hours I return to my more mundane tasks of laundry, car pool, home work, and the prevention of habits in my small ones that would steal their agency.


  1. i LOVE this one . . . i remember faces and tears and gratitude and such a happy feeling after we had left. i think its awesome that you choose to do this . . . you and jodi have hands streched out to other hands just as those in the song, "my sisters hands"

  2. One of my favorite Haloween stories.