Another installment of "The Invisible Ones" of Washington, DC.
I met Kim on a busy street corner near the Farragut Square Metro station in Washington, DC. She was sitting quietly up against a building holding an empty paper cup in an attempt to collect donations. Kim is a friendly and affable woman who has been homeless and living on the streets of DC for about ten years. She was formerly a nurse but lost her credentials due to severe problems with drugs and alcohol. She tells me she has been clean and sober for two years and is hopeful that this time, she will stay that way. Kim is a good example of someone who previously was a productive member of society that through her own poor choices caused her life to spiral out of control. She would be the first to tell you that and is only looking for a chance to get back on her feet. It is very difficult for women who are living without shelter for all of the obvious reasons. For Kim and other recovering substance abusers, it is even more difficult because of the easy availability of drugs and alcohol on the street. I have a great deal of admiration and respect for people who persevere with maintaining their sobriety under these circumstances. If you know Kim or someone like her, stop and have a conversation. Ask how they are doing and if you can help in some way. I guarantee that you'll both be better off for having had that experience.