"Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly." -Albert Einstein

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Recovery Coach Training

So a few weeks ago I was in the first part of the ICAADA training to be a Peer Recovery Coach. I wanted to tell you about some of the highlights, especially yesterday's walk through the hall of shame. It felt like a viewing you might go to after someone dies. I have pictures to add, but they will have to be posted later.
The topic yesterday was "Stigma". We broke up into 3 groups and each group made a list on large pieces of newsprint paper of the words that come to mind when you think about:
Drug Addicts
Mentally Ill
Each group made a pretty extensive list.
Then we hung the lists up together in the meeting room across the hall from the classroom. We were instructed to walk through the room, single-file, silently.
The entire class walked through the room in about 15 minutes' time, then returned to our seats, still silently, considering the things we'd just read.
I will add the posters when I am able.
I think I can safely say that most of us were in tears after this reminder of who we had been, for so long. Even with so much time, so many years, between myself and the days of drinking and drugging, it brought back many painful memories.
I 'd believed the lies for so long, and run so hard after the (non-existent) rewards smoke and mirrors of the party-girl/addicts' lifestyle.In that room, with 2 dozen of our peers, we confronted our collective demons.

 Now, before I continue, I feel that I should tell you that not ALL of these adjectives described me, completely. But, yes; most did.
We discussed what had just happened. We talked about the stigmas of addiction, alcoholism, and of mental illness, all of which were represented in our group. Most of us saw our former selves on more than one of the papers.
I can't recall what my peers said, but the feelings were all the same: guilt, shame, sorrow, self-loathing, to name a few.
What I shared afterward, was that it felt a lot like when I did my first 5th Step. Writing the inventory wasn't so hard, but letting someone else see the labels I'd carried around, was terrifying. I was deeply afraid that all the things I'd thought about myself, even before ever picking up, would be confirmed as true
.But what I said then, was that I'm a little bit less of that person, every day that I stay clean. I never want to be her, again.
I will be eternally grateful for the Trainers and my friends who went on that disturbing walk through the "Wall of Pain" with me. We learned, that week, how to better use our pains to help the addict/alcoholics that God will faithfully our paths.