Last night, Dr. Drew did a segment on a wet house, something I had never heard of before. A wet house for alcoholics is a home that allows people to eat, sleep, and drink alcohol there. This is not a rehab. This is not a halfway house. This is simply a home for homeless alcoholics.
The people in these houses have been through many attempts at alcohol rehabilitation and it has not worked. Instead, they are now living in a house with numerous other homeless alcoholics, and they all continue to drink.
People may argue that a wet house is better than putting these people out on the streets, and perhaps this is true. That being said, alcoholism is a progressive and fatal disease when left untreated. Alcoholism does not just go away or get better because someone has a place to live.
In the past, I used to think that all of the external things in my life were the problem. I felt that if people would leave me alone, my drinking and using would be fine. If I could just make it through school, or if I didn’t drive under the influence, or if I were allowed to use and drink as much as I wanted, then everything would be fine.
This is not true! No matter where I was or whom I was around, I was killing myself with alcohol and drugs. Sure, I had a place to live and much more, but this absolutely did not prevent me from overdosing on drugs and ending up in the emergency room. The external factors are not the problem or the solution.
A place like this for alcoholics totally fails to provide the most needed component of an alcoholic’s life – TREATMENT. Alcoholics need treatment because this disease is fatal.
Many, many people die as a direct result of alcohol. Giving alcoholics a place to live without providing treatment is irresponsible and absolutely ridiculous. To condone drinking among a group of alcoholics is basically telling them that they aren’t important, they don’t matter, and we as a society don’t mind if they continue to kill themselves - so long as they don't do it on the streets where people can see.
One of Dr. Drew’s guests described these houses for alcoholics as a place for homeless alcoholics who cannot be helped. Who is to say who can and cannot be helped? My belief, and a very strong belief at that, is that anyone can get sober. It's not easy, but I don't ever think it's true that someone is 'too far gone.'
To propose that this is a house for people who cannot be helped is an embarrassment to our society. Since when are certain people not important enough to help? Why would we allow these people to slowly, or quickly, kill themselves with the disease of alcoholism?
Many, many people do not get sober after their first trip to rehab. Many don’t get sober after their 8th trip to rehab or their 30th trip to a detox! I understand not everyone has the means, financially and otherwise, to continue entering treatment facilities over and over again. That does not mean they should give up, and it certainly does not mean that they should be encouraged to give up! Providing an alcoholic a ‘wet house’ is telling them they might as well give up and that they are beyond help. I truly cannot put into words how disturbed I feel about this concept.
If the government is going to fund a place for alcoholics to live, they should be providing treatment! Pure wet houses are absurd. I truly do understand that these people don’t have anywhere else to live, and I think it’s great to provide housing. But to provide a wet house for alcoholics, housing that really promotes alcoholism, is truly irresponsible.