Last night, I had an unfortunate experience, one that made me seethe with hurt and anger, and disappointment. It was a callous comment made by someone who should know better about an overdose situation.
Later, as I posted about this experience, and how I had chosen to respond to it, a friend made the comment that she was thankful that I had been there to bear witness to the incident. Another person today said that she thought there was a reason I was standing there when I was yesterday.
That got me thinking… Maybe that was the case. Maybe there was a reason I was standing there! Yes, there was. In the last two months, as we have struggled with Paul’s diagnosis and how to juggle all that comes with it, I have stepped back somewhat from my advocacy about substance abuse treatment and prevention and stepped back from writing as much about how society vilifies those suffering in this way.
So, I’m back! Every single person struggling with addiction, nearly overdosed, or overdosed, is someone’s child. Maybe someone’s sibling. Someone’s grandchild. An aunt or uncle, a friend, lover, a father or a mother. Every single one is a human being deserving of love, deserving of dignity, deserving of support and options to get help. No one gets up in the morning and says, “Geez, I want to spend my day trying to get high, ruin a few relationships, put myself in mortal danger, and then get ready to do it all over again tomorrow” No one does that! We need to stop acting like that is the case.
As often has happened on this journey, something happened last night to give me a reminder that part of my purpose on this earth is to be a voice on this issue, and as much as it hurt last night, today, I am thankful it happened because it gave me a kick to get back to work.