On Monday, I celebrated six years of recovery. The 12 step fellowship I attend defines “being clean” as abstinence from all mind or mood altering substances, so when I talk about being clean it means from street drugs, alcohol, abuse of OTC/prescription drugs, etc. Six years may sound like a short amount of time to someone who has never dealt with addiction, but when I decided that drugs were destroying my life I was in very different circumstances than currently. While this post can (and will) go hand in hand with a post about mental illness, I also felt the need to express that this is a particular part of my identity which I consider slightly different from other mental illness.
As is tradition around a milestone like this, I am going to share the bit of my story that I tell when speaking at detoxes and treatment centers.
Sorry for the lack of post last weekend. I was preparing for an out of town, weekend-long business meeting and it completely slipped my mind until I was in the car on Friday afternoon!
Since I know you are intelligent people, you likely gathered several things from the title of this post: (1) I have sisters; (2) they have/will have children; (3) I have asked them not to call me “Auntie” or encourage their children to do so; and (4) I have reasons for this that I believe in strongly enough to take the time to explain publicly.
A while ago, I had a brief conversation with an old man who was annoyed at the sidewalks near the medical complex where my psychiatrist practices. He mentioned that the curbs used to be rounded, and that the straight edged sidewalks were a “pain in the butt” to step up/down. Now, I had just stepped up onto the sidewalk and hadn’t thought anything of it. That, my friends, is the very definition of able-bodied privilege.
This isn’t the first time that I have acknowledged that privilege. I have friends who are less physically capable than I, but most of my admonitions for lack of consideration have to do with the pace I walk.