The Life: Fighting that Addiction Spirit


the brown Chihuahua mix, raised her head and smiled her snagged-tooth dog smile at me. She was curled up on the daybed in the main room of the little cabin, so I could see the full affect of her charming under-bite. I was vacuuming the floor, hand-placed flagstones covered by numerous throw rugs. The unevenness of the stones and the fringe on the rugs made it slow going for the old upright as it loudly tried to eat some of the smaller rugs. Opal and the other dog, a coyote/Shepard mix, were undisturbed however, calmly moving aside whenever the machine approached them. I’d come to visit Kai and her family as they began a new phase in their lives. Kai’s 32-year-old daughter Naivara had just been released from a nursing home. After nearly dying from sepsis brought on by injecting heroin, Naivara is mostly paralyzed from the neck down. She is in a wheelchair and needs constant help. The little homemade artist’s cabin in the mountains was not wheelchair-friendly and Kai was struggling madly to get everything in place so that Naivara could remain at home. (Everyone in the family requested that their names be changed for fear of reprisal by gangs)