As we work through our collective open wound of current political heartbreak, I'd like to share with you something small that has sustained me through the years.
My old agency held harm reduction-based substance misuse support groups every day. Posted on the bulletin board in our group treatment room was this faded, over-copied sheet of paper*.
For nearly a decade, I skeptically stared at these words. I eschewed the idea of a "higher power," and certainly didn't identify with the language of traditional 12-step recovery. I rolled my jaded eyes at its earnest hopefulness, as well as its dated references (faxes? car phones? how very 1991).
Eventually, though, I found myself returning to these thoughts for comfort, especially those in #6 and #8:
Why did I take a copy of this when I left that agency, and why does it hang on my own bulletin board now?
Because I finally realized that we are all in recovery from something.
We are all in a constant state of distress over how living in this world harms us, and we are always working to repair ourselves, and to mobilize hope in each other.
I have used these words to inspire my own recovery from: that job, my own bad habits, failed relationships, growing awareness of racism and rape culture, demoralization and hopeless cynicism, national tragedies, and so much more.
Now, in this time of toxic stress and fear for our future, let Laurie Penny remind us that self-care and mutual support can be tools of resistance...and that though we may face seemingly insurmountable odds, we are still called to do it anyway.
* I regret that I have been unable to discovery the true origin of these words--Pat C? V.R.M.?--so if you happen to have an idea about how to correctly source this piece, please let me know!
Jessica Katzman, Psy.D.
I'm a psychologist with a private practice in San Francisco's Castro District. I'm interested in harm reduction, LGBTQQIAAP issues, psychedelic integration, social justice conversations, size acceptance, and any intersections of the above. I welcome your comments!
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