Saturday, August 28, 2010

Anonymous Does Not Mean Invisible

September is National Recovery Month and all manner of wonderful activities are planned to raise awareness of addiction as an illness, and I could not be happier about it. I will be writing about them here and posting links to them. Anything that makes people aware of addiction as an illness and promotes a positive image of recovery automatically has my support.
Having said that, I have a few other things to say. For one thing, people in recovery need to begin to realize that anonymity, the spiritual foundation of the 12 Step Programs does not mean invisibility. One of our biggest problems is the negative stereotype that accompany words like alcoholic and addict, substance abuser or problem drinker. The public sees us at our worst, not at our recovering best. In my little corner of the world, we have a Recovery Walk each September. Invariably, the response is, "Where did they come from?" Well, we came from right here--we just have a major public relations problem. We don't know how to identify as recovering persons without jeopardizing anonymity.

Watch this space for further discussion of that issue.

Another issue, which I am going to touch on briefly here, is that following September (National Recovery Month, remember?) is October and then November. The season of campaigns and elections. In the spirit of democracy let me write a few words about that:

I live in an area where kids are dropping dead from prescription pain medications at an epidemic rate. Where a new soccer stadium opened while the town was on an emergency curfew lock-down due to the rising violent crimes attributed to (guess what?) drug use and narcotic trafficking.

I have been watching those highly unpleasant political ads, and I hear about who is a socialist, and who is in the pocket of the "big interests" and who supports big government. And the Mosque. I hear about the Mosque.

Do I hear one single shred of compassion or intelligent thinking or even a lousy mention of the children we are burying every day because of drug overdoses? I do not. Do I hear anything about the deteriorating conditions that promote drug trafficking and its attendant crimes? I do not. Do I hear any indication whatsoever that any of the candidates has even spent five minutes reading up on the subject? I do not!

I hear about the Mosque. I don't want to hear about the Mosque. I want to hear who is going to try and do something. I want to hear a plan. I want to hear that at least one of the politicians running for office gives a damn.

Do that, you don't even have to talk about the Mosque. You will have some real issues to talk about it. And maybe if some more recovering people are willing to not be invisible, you'll have supporters, too.

Supporters who vote.

Like this recovering person who isn't the least bit invisible, and isn't going anywhere.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I am sick of hearing about the mosque and a lot of other things that seem to preoccupy the minds of people. The real issues of social injustice, drug addiction, poor education, poverty continue to play out in the lives of too many.