September 17, 2011

"Grippers" (how to get homeless without even trying #13)

 (click on the "grippers" tab and scroll down for the previous 12 episodes)
Content review:
  1) Intro: "Homelessness and the Grippers"
  2) Episode #1: "Meet the Slider family"
  3) Episode #2: "Bob Slider is laid off"
  4) Episode #3: "Confronting finances over beer & pizza"
  5) Episode #4: "Meeting with the landlord"
  6) Episode #5: "Running out of money"
  7) Episode #6: "Out of money"
  8) Episode #7: "Lights out"
  9) Episode #8: "Here come the church people"
 10) Episode #9:"The Home Visit"
11) Episode #10"Good news & Bad News"
12) Episode #11"What about Jake?"
13) Episode #12"Trick or Treat"


Episode #13: "Getting out of jail--Now what?"


Bob Slider, husband, father, hardworking family man and solid citizen had gone through an unwanted and unexpected metamorphosis. Reborn into a strange world of unemployment, disability and prescription drug addiction, he now found himself being processed into the county jail. After enduring the indifferent, matter-of-fact fingerprinting, mug-shot taking and humiliating strip search, he was placed in a holding cell with a bunch of other guys. Some were laughing, some were crying, some were trembling and some appeared to not give a damn. One thing was the same--they all were wearing freshly laundered orange jump suits with bold, black letters emblazened on the back that said, COUNTY JAIL. As for Bob, his back pain was raging, he was feeling frightened, lost, victimized,  misunderstood and strangely, all he could think of was one thing, I need my pills.


Bob, because he had never been in any kind of trouble before, was released at 10 a.m. the following morning on ROR (on his own recognizance). Judi Pavano had to drive Tracey to the jail to pick Bob up because his license had  been temporarily suspended and his truck impounded. Judi waited in the car while Tracey met Bob at the jail exit.When he saw his wife he began to cry. She could not believe how pathetic he looked. She, too, began to cry. They hugged each other for several moments and then Bob took a breath and asked Tracey, "You got my pills?"

"Uh---no Bob, I don't. C'mon, let's get you home."

"I need the pills Tracey. I can't believe you didn't bring them. I'm so sick. You don't understand, I need my medicine."

She was a bit stunned that his primary concern was his pills and it was this moment that impacted her with the reality of his addiction "Okay, okay. We'll be home in 15 minutes. Just hold on."

Bob's blood work and urine sample showed that he had more oxycodone and xanax in his system than had been prescribed. His license was officially suspended for six months and he was fined $250.00, the minimum allowed under the law. He also was sentenced to complete a "Law and Substance Abuse" program and  received one year probation which also included doing 50 hours of community service. Since his truck was the family's only means of transportation it was released from impound for Tracey to use. Being caught up in the criminal justice system was a miserable, unpredictable and downright scary place to be. Factor in two extremely painful, herniated  lumbar discs that almost prevented him from standing up straight and having no money pushed Bob Slider into a deep pit of despair. He was pulling Tracey and Jake with him but Tracey had an unknown  inner strength and resolve inside herself  that would enable her to pull back and fight the forces working against them.

Next time: Episode #14: "Living with Consequences"