“The Police Department is dedicated to serving the people of Dallas and strives to reduce crime and provide a safe city” (Dallas Police Department). Unfortunately, the Dallas PD is dwindling down in size due to retirement, lagging recruitment, and low salaries compared to other cities. According to the Dallas News October, 2016 the Dallas Police Department lost 99 officers to retirement or job relocation.
“The shrinking department is down to 3,252 officers, well below the desired 3,500. The force hopes to hire 449 officers this year to make up for attrition. Council wants police staffing to average three officers per 1,000 residents” (Dallas News). One of the biggest problems that will appear with a shrinking police department is their ability to protect the people from corruption and the potential for drug crimes. Unfortunately, the more drugs that are available in the city, the more people there will be who abuse them and potentially become hooked.
In 2016, there was an increase in homicides and violent crimes (aggravated assault, robberies, murders and sexual assaults). According to Interim Police Chief David Pughes, “the majority of the homicides we’re seeing is home invasions of drug houses.” (Dallas News). Pughes went on to say that “being down 400 officers, it’s spread through the entire department.”
The problem is that crimes are often the direct result of a drug addiction; instead of being treated like they are sick, people suffering from addiction are treated like criminals and might not get the treatment they need. This drug/crime calamity can be a very difficult situation for the government, law enforcement and prisons. With over 142,000 inmates, about 92 percent of which are men (Texas Tribune), Texas has the largest prison population in the United States and three of those prisons are in Dallas County.
There are an estimated 16,389 people in Texas prisons for Driving While Intoxicated (3rd offense) and they are serving anywhere from 5 to 20 year sentences or more. Marijuana, heroin and cocaine are also a major cause for concern in Dallas penitentiaries, because people commit crimes that, in the end, are a direct result of drugs. “Abusers of crack cocaine and ice methamphetamine frequently commit assaults and shootings to protect their drug operations; they also commit home invasions and robberies to support their drug addictions” (National Drug Intelligence Center).
When someone has multiple charges against them for drug related crimes, they aren’t just in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are most likely suffering from a substance addiction. Sometimes bigger steps need to be taken in order to make sure that a person doesn’t become a repeat offender. Drug court probation is one tool that can help people with addictions to become upstanding citizens, and stay out of prison. Maybe people who struggle with addictions should not be treated like they lack moral fiber, but instead be uplifted and helped out of the slump they’re in.
Governor Rick Perry has made a major impact on drug trafficking, substance addiction and treatment in Texas. In 2011, Governor Perry said, “We should continue our investment in border security because the threat of cross-border violence has only grown, as the drug wars escalate. I don’t raise the issue of border security as a criticism of our neighbors to the south, but to show our resolve and unity in the struggle, as they deal with a wave of violence unlike anything outside of the world’s war zones”.
– On The Issues
With drug shipments growing larger, the number of people suffering from addictions is also on the rise in Dallas. Unfortunately, instead of being treated for diseases, they are sanctioned for crimes. It is important to remember that substance use disorders and alcoholism are mental disorders and diseases. Even though a person will do tragic things, and sometimes even put others in danger in order to fuel an addiction, they are sick and need help.
Oftentimes, a person suffering from an addiction started using drugs or alcohol to cope with a mental disorder or to deal with loss. Over a prolonged period of use, they begin to crave their drug of choice as you might crave food or water–their brain tells them that they need it for survival. If a person you love is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, don’t give up on them, you might be the only person they have right now.
Addictions are as unique as the city they happen in. Treatments are unique as well and even if one type of treatment worked for one person, it might not work for another. The same goes for a person’s drug of choice; a person might not be able to stop drinking on their own, while another person might be suffering from a serious heroin problem.
Each person’s addiction is different, and therefore, the method of treatment is likely to be different as well. Although most treatment programs will start with a professionally monitored detoxification, some of the other addiction treatment methods are:
Water binds us to the natural world, and for many people creates a sense of peace. For some, seeing a vast body of water stretching out into the horizon makes their fears and imperfections feel tiny in comparison, and thus a lot less daunting. Others find that going for a relaxing swim reconnects them to their core, and they feel at one with the water they’re immersed in. Studies have even shown that being near water, especially on a regular basis, can significantly reduce overall stress and improve mental health. There are a lot of opportunities in Dallas to take advantage of the healing properties of water. Below are some of our favorites.
You simply can’t talk about natural beauty in this area without mentioning White Rock Lake. Whether you choose to hike the trails surrounding the lake or make a tactile connection by kayaking through it, there are endless ways to make the most of the tranquil environment. It’s the perfect spot to take your family for a day of fun and relaxation in the sun, but it can also be a great place to go on your own when you’re feeling overwhelmed. The key is to make sure you stay in the moment: if you’re with loved ones, focus on creating new, happy memories and don’t let your mind drift to the time you’re making up for. If you’re solo, leave your worries at home (or at least in the car) and concentrate on appreciating the beauty all around you. Reflect on how far you’ve come to make it to this moment, and let yourself feel grateful for the progress you’ve made on your sober path.
One of the coolest things about Trinity River is the way it’s evolved over time: for hundreds of years it was used as a mode of transportation, was eventually adapted to become a trading route, and then finally settled into a village that eventually became Dallas. It’s something to keep in mind while you’re taking a dip or admiring the view from the Overlook — just as you have overcome incredible obstacles on your journey to sobriety, Trinity has withstood every storm, every battle. You’ve each had to power through to come out stronger than before. Though you’re certainly going to see more obstacles in the future, let the river be your reminder that you can and will endure; the sober path you’re on is permanent.
In the heart of the city lies Turtle Creek Park, a splendid reminder that nature can blossom even amid skyscrapers. If you work or live downtown, it’s an easy escape into the natural world and makes a great spot for lunch with a loved one. Take your pup for a walk along the trail and let him be your guide; if he stops to appreciate the view, try to see the world through his eyes. Spending time with animals has been proven to be therapeutic in itself, and embracing the curiosity and enthusiasm of your canine companion can do wonders for your spirit — especially on days that old cravings rear their heads or your path forward seems impossible.
Exercise is important in recovery, and walking through nature is a great place to start. Supplement it with regular meditation, which can be even more peaceful when done outdoors, and you’ve got an excellent low-intensity body and mind exercise routine. These are a few of our favorite parks that are great whether you’ve got an entire afternoon to spend or just a lunch break.
Even with the Dallas population at around 2.5 million, the city can feel lonely sometimes. Visiting Exall Park is a great opportunity bump into neighbors for some low-pressure social interaction, plus it’s a gorgeous display of nature just on the edge of downtown. The playground is a great way to break the ice with a child you’re trying to reconnect with, and then you can explore the walking trails. A scavenger hunt can be a fun game with your child or any other loved one you bring along, and it’s an easy way to ensure you really stop to look at and appreciate your surroundings. End your visit by listing your favorite natural experiences of the day, whether it was spotting a beautiful bird or catching a whiff of your favorite flower in the breeze. Appreciating the little beauties in life is a big part of what makes addiction recovery worth the work, and nature is one of the easiest places to start.
Simplicity: that’s part of the beauty of Main Street Garden Park. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon indulging in your favorite book or enjoying a picnic with an old friend. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with thinking you must reconnect with nature in a “bigger” way — sitting on the grass to meditate or taking your dog for a quick walk in the sunshine can be just as healing as going for a long hike. The point is to get outside and enjoy yourself, so if your schedule only allows for a quick trip, embrace the simplicity and make the most of it while you’re there.
The trees at Tietze Park are fascinating to look at and even more fun to climb, so spice up your walk by channeling your inner child! As adults, we often forget what it’s like to cut loose and have fun. As someone in addiction recovery, you might even hold some guilt about past fun that led you deeper into your substance abuse. But research has shown that playing isn’t just good for mental health, it’s necessary. You’ve come a long way already and it’s no secret there are still tough days ahead, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop and enjoy yourself now. If tree-climbing just isn’t your thing, try skipping instead of walking. Check out the swings at the playground. Engage your family in a game of freeze tag. It doesn’t matter how you play in the sunshine — just do it!
Whether you’re looking to step up your exercise routine, need to burn off some excess energy, or work off the frustrations of recovery, there are various options for hiking, biking, and exploring natural Dallas. When you’re ready to veer off the beaten path and connect with nature on an even more intimate setting, these are a few valuable places to consider.
With hiking trails for any experience level and biking trails for the more experienced, Boulder Park is a great place to spend the day. Leave your earbuds at home and instead immerse yourself in your surroundings: What birds do you hear? What habitats do you spot along the trail? Which plants can you identify? Be mindful with each step that you take, thinking of only your current surroundings. Letting go of your worries and instead focusing on the present moment, especially when you’re amid the glory of nature, brings you peace while you hike and can even ease stress once you’ve returned home. You have plenty of time to worry later, so let your time at Boulder Park be spent appreciating the wonders around you.
This massive park has the option of just about every outdoor activity to offer. With paths along the lake and trails into the wilderness, you can tailor your hike to your desired view. If you’ve been enjoying your nature walks but want to add some excitement, try meeting a friend from opposite sides of the trail and playing Marco Polo to figure out how close you are. Play hide-and-seek as you walk with a friend (this is especially fun with kids, but be sure they know not to wander or hide too far away). Sing your favorite song as you walk, or practice your three-month sobriety speech and let the creatures of the woods be your audience. Don’t just walk through nature — engage with it and truly make the connection.
These trails are more on the advanced side, but the well-prepared biker, jogger, or hiker can have the ultimate journey into nature at Oak Cliff Nature Preserve. Especially if you’re coming from the hustle and bustle of downtown, it’s a welcome quiet where the trees far outnumber the people. You’ll see not only the beauty of nature, but the strength and resilience of it. Plants and animals constantly adapt however they need to, and they often survive even with the odds stacked against them. The parallels are significant, but still, don’t let your mind wander too closely to your worries and fears. Nature is proving the beauty of growth and change all around you, so don’t miss it.
Asking for help will always be a crucial part of your addiction recovery, but don’t forget that nature may offer the solution. It can help you let go of the (albeit, many) things you can’t control, embrace the beauty of the world and life in general, and reaffirm your belief that the sober path is the right one. Connect with nature no matter how long you’ve been in recovery, and remind yourself that you, too, are resilient and strong.
Dallas is a mega city with major drug abuse and crime. With drug abuse comes addiction, but that doesn’t have to be the last stop. With our combined efforts, treating addiction in Dallas can lower the crime rate and make it a safer place to live. Dallas can a beautiful city to call home and grow both mentally and spiritually, but it’s hard to see the good when so many people are suffering from the consequences of drugs and alcohol. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that a person suffering from addiction is sick. Without proper treatment and intervention, a person might not be able to see that there is a problem and continue to live with a drug or alcohol induced obsession.
Whether a person approaches recovery with a family therapy approach, a 12-Step approach, or an adventure therapy approach–any addiction treatment is better than no treatment at all.
At Treehouse Rehab, we’re here to help you find the road to recovery and start your journey towards a healthy, balanced and sober life. Contact Us today at 1-866-332-7439 to speak to our compassionate and loving staff.
Together, we can free ourselves from addiction!