Hagerman has been drinking for 39 years. He drinks despite decades of lectures, prayers and punishment. He drinks despite two years of homelessness, six DWI convictions, six treatments for alcoholism and 13 months in jail. What's ahead for Hagerman? The 54-year-old can see only one thing in his future — more drinking.Please read the entire article at the link before leaving any comments here.
That's why he feels lucky to live in a hospice for alcoholics — St. Anthony Residence in St. Paul. There, 60 men can — and often do — drink until they die. There are no counselors, no scolding, no 12-step programs, no group hugs. Just the love of Hagerman's life, waiting for him every day — alcohol. On his weeklong binges, he chugs vodka, beer or mouthwash. They are interchangeable to him, he said, gazing around his 12-by-12-foot concrete apartment.
"I drink," he said quietly, "until I kill the damn day off."
For three years, St. Anthony has been operated by Ramsey County, St. Paul, the state of Minnesota and Catholic Charities, at a cost of $18,000 per person per year. It's one of four so-called "wet houses" in the state. Like a growing number of wet houses across the country, it allows alcoholics to drink, even when it's killing them...
Once alcoholics become residents, the police know their names. If one is found passed out in a park, the police simply return him to St. Anthony — no ambulances, hospitals or trips to detox. If needed, residents get medical care from an in-house nurse. If they get sick, they go to a hospital.
And when they get extremely sick? There's an in-house hospice service. Three to five residents die every year....
19 February 2011
"Wet houses" (hospices for alcoholics)
I thought I was pretty well informed, but I've never heard of this before. Excerpts from a story at TwinCities.com: