"Ninety percent of people who need help never receive it. Indeed, people with addiction are more likely to wind up in prison than in rehab." - David Sheff, "Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy," p. 15
Our so-called War on Drugs has turned out to be more a War on Addicts.
It goes beyond lawyers and laws. If David Sheff's quote (above) is correct, which I believe it is, it points to larger problems than our criminal justice system.
Blaming the victims of addiction by stigmatizing substance use disorders does nothing to help people striving to get their lives back together. Stigma kills. It makes the recovery process ever-more difficult. Punishment doled out in the form or employment and housing discrimination are among a host of other below-the-belt punches, far beyond and after an addict is released from a jail cell. Looks of disgust and mistrust will accompany them for years to come. Social barriers to recovery are so prevalent, so part and parcel of expected behavior as to be nearly unnoticed by the uninformed John Q. Public.
Stigma for those still using. Stigma for those struggling to live in recovery. Looked at in abhorrence, an anathema to be scorned without pity, recovery for many and most has not been made any easier by the social-fabric-of-the-day. Injustice. The War on Drugs has hardened our Culture to the Core.
I am an alcoholic in long-term recovery. I had been dehumanized by alcohol, humiliated by the world-at-large. The Stigma Enigma, as I've called it elsewhere, is the punishing by the outside world of those already punished by addiction. The stigma continues long past the last drug use, long after the prison door of addiction has opened.
The slightest glimmer of hope sustains me.
The smallest of changes may have the most profound effects. Here, where I live, there used to be an institution called DRUG COURT. This is a place where addicts on drug-related offenses are given the opportunity to start a new life in Recovery.
The smallest change, miraculous, has been a simple change in language. DRUG COURT is now called RECOVERY COURT.
My job is done here. Check out this wonderful article: https://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/employment-key-to-recovery-court-graduates-success-judge-says/article_978893e3-c46a-5cf3-9b3b-763864296c0b.html
One simple change: Someone said something like let's call DRUG COURT something that better describes its purpose. Let's call it RECOVERY COURT.
This reminds me of my wonder as a child after giving a kaleidoscope a simple quarter turn: Everything changes.
One small change. A simple change of focus can move mountains.
It's a start. It's a start. It's a start.
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
[NOTE: I've never been in jail, but I know full-well the prison of addiction. You might enjoy my book: ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal ]
Find it on Amazon.com here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
Recovery Tweets: http://twitter.com/JimAnders4