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Monday, January 22, 2018


Next up as a homelessness factor in Boston, gambling addiction. Omaha homeless shelters saw gambling as a cause of homelessness jump from trace levels to 35 percent of admissions after casinos opened across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Jim O'Connell awakened me to the reality of not only walking a mile (and way more than a mile) in his patients' shoes, but of the importance of knowing that they also were doing it without socks! I am proud that some of us at Faulkner Hospital's Addiction Recovery Program played a role in helping Jim and some of his colleagues learn more about the management of addiction problems, and he opened our eyes to the ravages of the homelessness (and hopelessness) that was all around us, even in tony Jamaica Plain. The streets have only gotten meaner, and the problems appear even more intransigent, particularly with a Federal government run by people focused on making the rich even richer, and depriving the poor of any semblance of a safety net. Cities and their governments are the last stand we may have for some time in finding and funding solutions. I am thankful that Boston has Dr. O'Connell as one of its treasures.

"And it’s often impossible for men to do anything, prisoners in I don’t know what kind of horrible, horrible, very horrible cage. There is also, I know, release, belated release. A reputation ruined rightly or wrongly, poverty, inevitability of circumstances, misfortune; that creates prisoners.
You may not always be able to say what it is that confines, that immures, that seems to bury, and yet you feel I know not what bars, I know not what gates — walls.
Is all that imaginary, a fantasy? I don’t think so; and then you ask yourself, Dear God, is this for long, is this for ever, is this for eternity?
You know, what makes the prison disappear is every deep, serious attachment. To be friends, to be brothers, to love; that opens the prison through sovereign power, through a most powerful spell. But he who doesn’t have that remains in death. But where sympathy springs up again, life springs up again." -Vincent van Gogh, 1880

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