image credit...Kenneth Cappello
it is 4th of July weekend and i'm very happy for the 3 days. i am much less busy these days as i have let go of my second job. it a mixed bag blessing as i miss the 12K annually and feel that in my monthly budget, but i also have had much more time to just be which has afforded me some depth in my perception of my life.
last friday a colleague and i spoke to a group of african women refugees who are living with hiv. their perspective on the disease is very much contrasted with ours in the states- at least those of us living with it for over 20 years. they still deal with gang rape, stigma, asylum, and death, whereas stateside we have become much less fearful and integrated it into our lives. as we shared our experiences and thoughts about this, there was a visible and collective sigh of relief expressed both verbally and in body language after the interpreters did their work.
all in all it was a very powerful 2 hours for me. i still find it amazing that something i carried around as stigma and in fear can be of such use to others. i'll just put another silver dollar in my recovery piggy bank.
a friend has been struggling with his addiction for most of his adult life. he got sober for about a year but when he was scheduled to go back to his hometown for the holiday, what may have been the overwhelming guilt and emotion cause a restart of his tango with addiction. a week ago friday he was found dead on a bike path near curtis park- no doubt the benzos and some booze are at the heart of the matter for him. i felt some sadness, but an eerie overwhelming sense of relief as well. he really is not enduring the frustration of his situation, nor the aggravation of his ability to manipulate his situation any longer.
as i wait for an opportunity to apply for a promotion, i am again considering the idea of pre-treatment as an additional option for folks who are using. it seems that combining this under the umbrella of recovery support services may make sense. people who are using often have difficulty imagining that anyone lives and thrives without using. and a drop in support group may address this in a peer-educator and culturally competent way.
i thought about the fact that i used to often find myself at the refrigerator door, opening it, and looking in- even though i didn't want anything. it was more a thing that i just did. i remembered also that i used to get high in just the same way, often because i was listless without direction and just had nothing better to do. i have found new things to do.
no matter how many times i hear this song, i absolutely love it. and maybe now i have a slightly deeper connection to its meaning.
So open your eyes child,
Let’s be on our way.
Broken windows and ashes
Are guiding the way.
Keep quiet no longer,
We’ll sing through the day,
Of the lives that we’ve lost,
And the lives we’ve reclaimed.