In MY EXPERIENCE, I’ve come to realize that there is a topic more controversial than addiction, racism, politics, religion or sexism – it’s “unconditional love”.
I think that the true minority in this country is the person who sees everybody as equal;
– the true minority is the person who does not justify whose life is better or privileged–nor whose life is worthy or sacrificial;
— the true minorities are the people who realize that ALL of our lives are messed-up.
Individually, one decides to either:
get bitter or better;
heal or hurt; or
be “right” or all right (when given the option).
In my over 20 years of counseling people with addictions, I realize that racism had never been a barrier within my clinical arena (I’m certain that it was all around me—more so amongst staff—but, my focus has always been on my profession of helping clients/patients heal from the scars of their addictions).
How could I have been a substance abuse counselor for over 20-years and I not witness racism as a major issue within the clinical settings?
NOTE: I have probably experienced more diversity in providing substance abuse treatment than the average counselor—yet, I also NEVER witnessed it as a barrier to recovery either.
My experience in demographics has included settings to include very varied races, economic backgrounds, professions (ranging from the unemployed to medical doctors), genders/sexual orientations, cultures/ethnicity, legal statuses, ages, educational levels, etc. I have also worked with people of every religious denomination, as well as, atheist and agnostics. I have provided counseling to people of varied marital status (single, divorced, married to opposite gender and some married to the same gender). The majority of my career was with civilians; however, I’ve worked with veterans and enlisted men/women from every branch of the military. I have worked with those who lived in mansions and those who lived in government housing (be it barracks, jail cells or Section 8). I have worked with people who also had other disabilities—be it mental or physical.
Therefore, after pondering the question of how racism (and other diversities) was/is never a big issue within the clinical settings I have worked . . .
I realized that it’s because a “healthy” treatment setting is about RECOVERY, and . . .
- recovery is about being in the solution — racism is “in the problem”
- recovery is about recognizing individual character defects and overcoming them – racism is a character defect (TIME Magazine even published an article …. Is Racism an Illness? <—click to read)
- recovery is about acceptance and forgiveness – racism is holding grudges and resentments
- recovery is about daily renewal to include daily prayer and meditation – racism plays the blame game and meditates on hurt and fear
- recovery is about supporting one another in seeing your fellow-human as your equal – racism is dividing to conquer; after all, hurt-people, hurt people.
With that said, in recovery, there is no room for racism nor racist–it doesn’t fit our agenda.
I often give the following reply to folks who comment about my profession:
“I don’t work with addicts, you do—I work with people in recovery.” 🙂
All of my former students in recovery will remember the following teaching:
TAKE A GOOD, HARD, HONEST LOOK AT YOURSELF!
I always say that we know what’s wrong with EVERYBODY—and even how to fix THEM—except OURSELVES.
People who work a 12-step program, do TAKE a good, hard, honest look at themselves, & they . . .
- learn the Serenity Prayer (to learn about the Serenity Prayer, click here)
- do 4th Step Work (with his/her sponsor) – for an excellent 4th Step Worksheet, click here
- understand principle over personality
- take personal inventories – for a simple character defect check list, click here
- do 10th Step Work (Daily Inventory), for NA’s Daily Journal, click here
- K.I.S.S. (keep it simple sweetie/stupid)
And then there is the famous Prayer of St. Francis–introduced to most people in recovery.
I enjoy the version from AA’s book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 99 (see below). For a “pretty” copy, click here.
Lord, make me a channel of thy peace;
that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
that where there is error, I may bring truth;
that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life. ~Amen
Within these 6 months, I have had the opportunity to sit back and truly appreciate my ability to practice what I preach. I took a “good hard honest look at myself”; and instead of collecting more information of the mindset to justify separation (aka racism), my spirit just kept discovering more information to justify that we are more alike than we are different …. and the importance of even acknowledging the differences.
♦ Sadly, much of our “a-likeness” has been in shared pain. ♦
♦♦ ♦♦ ♦♦ ♦♦
Drug Overdoses Propel Rise in Mortality Rates of Young Whites
By GINA KOLATA & SARAH COHEN – JAN. 16, 2016 . . . to read this article, Click here.
President Obama Proposes $1.1 Billion in New Funding to Address the Prescription Opioid Abuse and Heroin Use Epidemic
President’s Budget includes new mandatory funding to help ensure that all Americans who want treatment can get the help they need. . . . to read this article, Click here.
Drug Sentencing Disparities
- About 14 million Whites and 2.6 million African Americans report using an illicit drug
- 5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites
- African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense.
- African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). (Sentencing Project)
. . . . to read more about drug sentencing disparities, Click here.
Because of the pain of addiction, and its many consequences, shared by ALL races, it is time to come together – ONE Neighborhood !
You see, I believe that RECOVERY is unconditional love for oneself and for EVERYONE else (OUR Neighbors).
——(let’s tie together! . . . souls need support!)——
I will continue to publish factual information that I believe is worthy of report; AND, always with some solutions to inspire.
My goal has never been, nor never will be, to support division or superiority of any one.
I believe, universally, that we ALL WANT to love & be loved:
4 Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. 5 It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. 6 It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. 7 Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 –Amplified Bible (AMP)
The time has come to share love; and if you don’t know how, try living the verse above.
Now, in keeping with tradition . . .
THE ROY-BLOG BITE:
My Buddy, Roy is back ♥ !! . . . and,
In accordance with one of the speeches by the 2016-male-presidential-candidate (to an all-white-audience regarding African-Americans), Roy told me that his answer to ANY question this year is:
“I have nothing to lose!”
That’s my buddy.
THIS WEEK’s RECOVERY QUOTE:
“The goal of spiritual practice is full recovery, and the only thing you need to recover from is a fractured sense of self.”
♦ Marianne Williamson, author of Healing the Soul of America: Reclaiming Our Voices as Spiritual Citizens
Thanks for stopping by, thanks for letting me share—let’s keep in touch!
I hope to have more frequent encounters . . . while also hoping it is always worth the wait.
REMINDER: Please Visit the TIDBITS Page above – Middle Menu – Far Right.
NOTE: If you want to comment on this article or topic, PLEASE submit your comments below.
N. Stephenson says
In formative of the things I didn’t know,and validated the things I did.I read it all.thank u will read again, thanks for sharing. I love ,love.
Thanks for all of your love & support.
You are spot on!!! Love what you said… wish there were more who believed and counsel like you do.
Thanks for your support, Victoria.
Louis Seyler, LCSW says
Good words for our hurting World.
Thanks for your positive feedback.