Sunday, September 13, 2015

Rally for Recovery

I drove up to Raleigh yesterday for a Rally for Recovery, a public event for people in recovery to come together and celebrate their progress.  It is all connected with a movement to make recovery community more visible to the world, to peel back the layer of anonymity and shame which covers it and help people better understand that:

  1. Substance abuse is an illness, like diabetes
  2. There are lots of success stories
  3. There is substantial ROI in investing in mitigation
I felt like it was important for me to go because I have recently joined the board of a non-profit that works to secure funding for programs around substance abuse and raise consciousness about the issue, and that because my background in this world is so overwhelmingly 12-step that I really don't understand a lot of the rest of the ecosystem of providers, services, interventions, etc.

When I got there, I found that there were lots of people smoking, and that a non-trivial portion of them were drawn from the less-affluent portions of society, including a lot of people of color.  They were giving away free food, which always makes me hungry, but then when I looked at the line for people getting the free food I saw that it was a lot of people who looked like they needed it, whereas I just wanted it.  Particularly one of the sausage biscuits from Bojangles. So I didn't get in line.

The fact of the matter is, I was a little uncomfortable being around people who are not like me.  And I need to get over that, because a lot of this world is people who are in fact not all that like me, save that they are Americans with dreams and problems, but fewer advantages than I've had.

There was tall, skinny, young African-American guy who was standing near me listening to the speakers.  He had gotten a bag of food from the line, and it was at his feet.  It had potato chips, bananas, an apple, maybe other stuff.  Absent-mindedly, he stepped on the bag and tripped a little. He quickly picked up the apple and took a bite, maybe because he wanted to get it in his belly before it bruised, or because he was just anxiously conscious of the fact that he had almost squandered a resource.  Or maybe I'm projecting.

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