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Saturday, December 20, 2008

on the 8th day

Implicit in both days 8 and 9 is the assumption that we carry a toxic residue of shame from virtually every incident in which we have hurt, rejected, or ignored others. Days 8 and 9 provide us with the opportunity to reduce this guilt by setting things right again. We should be cautioned, though, that we need to work through and grieve our underlying resentment, hurt, anger, and pain before trying to make amends to those who have also offended us. Otherwise, we are putting a bandage on a festering, cancerous sore, because the toxicity is still there. Only after it has been excised can we release our resentments with a high degree of emotional integrity.

on this eve of the 8th day i receive this note from a colleague:

Effective today I am resigning from the MDASC subcommitte.

I am considering a resignation from entire Council and will make that decision after the Holidays. I must say, I am dissapointed, dissillusioned and mostly, disheartened.

I believe the hardest "piece" to overcome for any recovering drug addict/alcoholic and Person Living With AIDS are the very labels that defined us when we were at our bottoms.

I had been a Mental Health client of MaryAnn Bolkovatz years ago, am still a client of CAP, am finished, but had an extensive relationship with ARTS as an outpatient, and cannot seem to find where I can work with those Professionals, without my feeling labeled and belittled. I realize it is tough for all of us to try and work together as Professionals and Consumers.

Yes, I am a RECOVERING alcoholic/addict, and I am the first person I know who has gone back to work after nearly dying from AIDS. It's been a struggle but I've persevered and am continuously making huge strides.

I volunteered on the MDASC subcommitee as the ONLY person with HIV and never felt accepted there. And herein lies the dilemma. Everyone on the Executive Committee, and the various ASO's are yelling "INCLUSION"; inclusion for PWLA/H, and People of Color, and People in Recovery. This though, seems to be more Lip Service than anything.

In my Truth, I felt like I had to be THREE TIMES more succesful because of the labels I felt were attached to me. Messed up? I think so.

I do belive that there needs to be "INCLUSION"; those/our voices need to be heard. But at what expense? I thought I could handle the transparancy and insincerity that I get from the Executive Committee and others in MDASC. But I cannot see how any other person in recovery, with HIV/or AIDS, and a person of color, would possibly want to volunteer without being shamed back into their disease. It takes a thick-skinned individual, and I guess I am not he. Thank God.

I have never taken disrespect well, and I refuse to be shamed back to my previous past. I WILL move forward. And I hope you all try to understand the full reaching impact of what you do, and at what cost. At who's cost?

Coming from California, which I imagine I will return once I no longer must take care of my ailing mother, the HIV community there IS inclusive. They don't just give "Lip Service". Denver could learn from them.

In my AA recovery home group I'm not known for being gentle about issues. This is a life of death issue for me. I'm very passionate about it. I would not disrespect anybody with "Lip Service", for the sake of my personal ego. So excuse me if you don't care for my honest approach.

I AM a Person Living With AIDS, and a Person in Recovery, and A Person of Color. This is not work for me. This IS my life. I do this for more personal reasons than most of you could understand.

God Bless All of You.

now believe me, i am still digesting the 7th day gift. i so want to take this note personally. i so want to fix this person. i can feel the struggle here, and knowing some of the background does color it in quite a bit. but it's not about me. it's about someone asking for help. it's about a struggle and an opportunity to grow.

i have to respond. i want to respond. first response is to try to take care of this person or fix them. not a good idea. i need to dig deeper and find a really thoughtful way to respond. (this mindset is already reflecting the gifts i have received already.) i need to make it easy for this person to climb down from this perch they have occupied.

how does this fit into the 8th day. well- it's about being willing to make amends. i have become willing to not be right here, and take some responsibility here for not communicating clearly. i don't need to be right. i need to be of service. this is a huge gift for me... the response is percolating.

So what if you can see the darkest side of me?
No one will ever change this animal I have become
Help me believe it's not the real me
Somebody help me tame this animal I have become
Help me believe it's not the real me
Somebody help me tame this animal

on the 8th day of christmas my true love gave to me:
a thoughtful way to engage a toxic cleanup
a 7th day to rest, reflect, and recharge
a 6 foot carriage to safety
a 5 alarm avalanche
a brand new self portrait, a new way to see "me" in 4 dimensions
a decision in 3 parts- i can't, god can, i think i'll let her
a 2nd chance
an opportunity to learn to listen and be heard

today's sound choice is three days grace with "animal i have become"



Marc said...

It reads like someone with a chip on their shoulder, but of course I don't know the details so that may completely off base.
I do think he needs an airing, with details and examples of what events/dialogue occurred that might have caused the feeling he describes. If they are legit, it would be an opportunity for the whole organization to grow.

Sheria said...

I like your approach. "I don't need to be right. I need to be of service." I shall try and remember this in my own life. I've spent far too much time worrying about being right.

The letter writer appears to be in emotional pain, sort of adrift as if he has no anchor in the place in which he finds himself.

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