Comment This is a comment, written by an editorial staff member. The commentary expresses the writer’s views.
“Here we are like a family”.
That’s what Agnethe Nevland at Fyrlyssenteret said when I visited on the occasion of the new Asphalt Christmas book that the Asfalt sellers are selling these days. And it made an impression. Visiting the Lighthouse Center has been a joy the times I have been there. It has also been educational.
Vidar is a new asphalt seller in Egersund: – We are normal people, and not scary and dangerous as some might think
You are welcomed with a warmth and generosity that is so wonderful. Agnethe and Are Steffensen, who both work at Fyrlyssenteret, have told about nice trips they have had with the people who use Fyrlyssenteret. Yes, both for trips to the Dyreparken in Kristiansand, to concerts and comedy shows, as well as to restaurant visits and driving trips. They talked about their gratitude for the local community who contribute and who really have a heart for the Lighthouse Centre. They also talked about good times at the Lighthouse Centre. With lots of laughter, humor and funny inventions. About good meals, good and long conversations, and about a place where people can belong and become part of a community.
At Fyrlyssenteret, people with challenges related to intoxication can take a shower, get hot meals, but perhaps most importantly, be seen and appreciated. In many ways, a vital offer that provides quality of life and joy.
To see man
I got to interview Vidar Jansen, who has been on and off with drugs for 14–15 years, and who is a new Asphalt salesman in town. He is looking forward to it, but is also a little excited about how he will be received in Egersund. He spoke candidly about how it feels to be ignored and the feeling that someone thinks you’re just scary and dangerous. “We are normal people and I appreciate a hello and a smile. I would like to have a chat with people,” he said.
Exactly what Vidar said there is the essence of what we as a society and people need to get better at. To see man. Drug addiction is a large part of our society and it exists in all walks of life. If one gets drunk on wine at the weekend, or gets high on other drugs. Some have problems with addiction. With some it is visible, with others it is not. And there can be many different reasons why it happens. In many cases, people who are in pain and who have experienced bad things use drugs as an escape and a way to cope with heavy emotions.
Addiction problems can affect anyone, and the addiction can be relentless. It does not discriminate. People who have challenges related to drug addiction are so much more than the drug addict. They are in a tough fight against a formidable opponent. There is massive respect for trying and getting a grip, seeking help, or seeking out safe environments and offers, such as the Fyrlyssenteret and Asfalt-selger milieu, to get out of previous environments to give a finger to the addiction. The absolute least these people can expect from society around them is recognition and a hello and a smile. Because it’s damn hard for me. To stand by shops and around the streets, vulnerable and visible, in the fight against drug addiction and the fight for a better life.
I think we should all reflect on just that, when we pass asphalt sellers in the future. There are tough people standing there. I would like to conclude by saying that Fyrlyssenteret and Gatemagasinet Asfalt are worth their weight in gold. These are services that contribute to precisely seeing the human being, and these are services that society desperately needs.