Thursday, October 10, 2013

Is it ever to soon to talk about advocacy?

I suggested that the movie The Anynomous People (yes, I know, I'm talking about it again. I swear he doesn't pay me, I'm just that passionate about it) as something the staff should see when it is in town, and possibly something they could buy to show the clients at the treatment center I am interning at.  I described the film and how strongly I feel about this idea and message.  No one really listens to the intern.  

I suggested to one of the "higher-ups" that it might be something they should buy and show to the clients.  He had actually seen the film.  But he thought it was too much to put on a person newly in recovery.  That the responsibilty of sharing your story when you aren't ready, might be too much. That they need to get their feet on the ground first. 

I get his point.  Folks need to take careful care of themselves first by getting off their drugs, get over their withdrawal, and get used to changing their behaviors before they can take on the responsiblity of advocacy.  The thought of banding together to share our stories out loud  can be overwhelming.  Shit, life is overwhelming when you first get clean.  The littlest things can seem so big.  The littlest things ARE so big. 

So do they need get a little bit well first?  Some time under their belts?   And most treatment centers, who welcome speakers in recovery, want those speakers to have at least six months to a year of recovery before they are allowed to speak.

I've heard people speak who had a week sober and believe their voice is just as important.

So although I get where he's coming from, I am not so sure I agree with him.  I think that a film like that, or information that there are SO many people in recovery out there, is a message that people in treatment need to hear.  Because they usually believe there is no life out there without their drinking or drugs.  No friends out there who don't use.  No life to be lived without the purpose of their drugs of choice.  And that is not so.  That is totally not so.

Do they need to run out of treatment and start telling their stories to everyone they see?  Only if they want to.  They certainly shouldn't be ashamed to do that.  Just to show them that this is what is happening, that organizations are out there fighting to make it easier to get well.  There is a place for everyone. And they should know.  We can see how how this whole thing can work to help us ALL get and stay well.  These movements and ideas might give them some structure, purpose, connections that newly sober people so desperately need  and decrease their shame that we feel so much in early recovery.

So to know that they can be a part of changing people's minds could be a very powerful thing.  It is exactly what Bill did in the beginning of his recovery. And it worked for him. 

They can be a part of this exciting time, where people are starting to believe us.  That they have no moral problem, but a disease. And they are certainly courageous, amazing, important and not alone. 

So is it ever too soon?

1 comment:

  1. Sounds a little strange that they wouldn't want people speaking until they have 6 months of recovery time under their belts. It would seem to me that people just starting their recovery would have the biggest NEED to speak, to have their voices be heard and honored and validated!