Sunday Sept. 14th
Just FYI: I am having a hecka hard time writing! It’s why I am not doing it for Mega Phone. Bare with me. Soon its more art!
Today’s talk at my First Unitarian Church was on addictions and the theme of welcoming with open hearts. Thank you Reverend Shana Lynngood for sharing from your heart and for bringing up “stigma”. It’s a real killer.
Suffice it to say, stigma makes me feel vulnerable. Breaks my heart when I witness it happen to others as well as to myself. It is heart breaking. Its like feeling you have to prove yourself all the time, no matter what.
I have felt more vulnerable this past few years. I put my story out there to build community. I get support from some, patrinised by others. Its par for the course and, as a friend of mine said to a comrade “anti poverty work is not for the faint of heart.” I appreciated your deeply felt and well thought out words.
Thank you for your patience readers.
I am slow. My late stages PTSD memory issues slow me down ever more, new ground once again at 53. It’s exhausting. It’s good for me in the end. I get thru my anxiety moments with a bit more ease for some reason. I work to heal my own ever-breaking heart.
Solutions? Education and action with love at its base. We can learn from Dr. Gabor Matte that the reason folks use drugs is for pain relief. UU’s invited YES2SCS folks and I felt so warm and fuzzy all over when I bumped into Marianne Alto in the parking lot and we hugged. To see the smiling faces of Heather Hobbs and Ben Isitt as well presenting, warmed me up.
I have been involved front lines since Harm reductions inception, I happily attended a YES2SCS workshop at the public library; it was most excellent. Well-done folks! I still remember it and I highly recommend after this great YES2SCS workshop you watch every presentation by Gabor Matte on Youtube for free and read all his books.
We can ask ourselves “why do we have so many people experiencing so much unnecessary pain and suffering in this world?” I know it is systemic, has colonial roots and is divisive. Colonialism and imperialism thrive on divide; its how it rules us. We are acutely aware of the pain it causes. Oh how we rebel. We write songs, go to protest and are suddenly thrown into awareness of how police can beat you up. You are merely exercising your right to protest and gather.
When police arrive on mass to a public protest, violence is sure to follow.
Why are we so quick to punish and judge those who will not move when bully’s come? Why is a depressant like alcohol, which is the cause of much pain and violence legal and the cannabis plant, which is highly medicinal illegal? (note: used in a harm reduction way, even alcohol can be and is medicinal.)
Why do we feel punitive towards some who rebel and not others who are supposed to protect Life but merely protect their own self interest? Why is media being cut and folks argue with each other when community could be fighting for their rights against a Neo Conservative Regime or a Neo Liberal Regime? Divide and Rule colonial beliefs, you cannot have your carrot and Real Change too, Oh Upwardly Mobile middle class.
Why is sugar ingredient in much of our store bought food and has a similar response in brains as cocaine does?
Again: Why do we have so many people experiencing unnecessary pain and suffering? Look to the very system we teach in education facilities aka schools, that we praise in our daily media like Pro Pipelines and Gas, this system we uphold in the “day to day” punishes people who are in pain thru use of police force and court systems that make folks bow to Queen and Lord’s. First Nations and settlers are saying No to Pipelines and Yes to alternative’s like solar and wind, why is our money being spent on gas and oil?
There are those who know this and want to change it. These systems of authority dictate and have convinced us we cannot change it. Systemic beliefs born of greed which birth so much pain and suffering is what people of good conscious work to change.
One of the hardest things for folks like myself who are open about our addictions is, we get stigmatized. I am now 53 years old, since I was 24 I have worked the “front lines” from Treatment Center to Halfway House, Emergency Shelters and Outreach, I worked with folks around Harm Reduction Models for almost 20 years now. I learned how to work in a consensus model at the BC Compassion Club Society and helped to create and develop their conflict resolution process.
I worked front line poverty / addictions / mental health for most of my adult life. I was a teenage runaway who would use sex, Alcohol, Acid, MDA, PCP, Quaaludes, Valium, Benny’s, very little Cannabis back then and some Heroin to survive homelessness in this messed up divided by colonialism Kapitalist Greed society.
Since I went onto Disability I am no longer attached to any organization. Seeing as how I am so “radical”, most do not want me attached anyways. I may not currently be a user of illicit drugs although I support Harm Reduction and have many community members who are current harm reduction illicit drug users.
When I went from front line worker to using front line services like Our Place, rainbow Kitchen, Mustard Seed and so on, this change made it tough for some folks to see me in food line ups or accessing services; “how do I act with kym now?”
Fact: It was impossible for some to remain in my life after I panned on Cook street once for health items while trying to rest for a month after my diagnosis years ago.
Community members started seeing me going out for bottles and cans, blue boxing for recyclables with my bike and trailer. Some brought me cans and bottles on my porch. Some were embarrassed and I hardly see anymore. Most see me and are wondering if I am ok. Divide and Rule is kicking our assess. People get angry and judgmental, NIMBY’s are everywhere around us and in us. We all have the potential for NIMBYism. Not In My Back Yard.
Myself and other folks who are ex users of illicit drugs used to meet up with current illicit drug users at the Tuesday Night Diner at AVI! It was the place we met, shared experience strength and hope with each other. For me it was refreshing to be around folks like myself sharing a meal and feeling the love from volunteers and staff.
Carol Romanow got me going to it. VIHA cut funding and again, we have nowhere to meet. Our space is once again taken. We are divided and it hurts us. Front lines are divided, it hurts us all. VIHA also cut funding for the Rig Dig Teams at AVI, folks who were themselves illicit drug users who went around and made sure needles were picked up and were able to chat as they want along and help each other out. Yes, AVI opened a needle exchange that is needed. You see where I am going?
Poverty pimping get the money and that hurts us all. If you want a job to place a band-aid on folks, there are jobs for you. If you want more you volunteer your time as YES2SCS folks do.
Personally, with my disability, I do community building activism.
I do struggle to eat healthy and I still fight for a permanent home before my daughter gets to be 12 or 13.
So I remain active with CTEHV (Committee To End Homelessness Victoria) and support Social Housing Now Initiatives, YES2SCS, and I generally support the need for yearly Anti Oppression 101 for everyone, although government has NO intention of making that a funded thing so, its supply and demand folks, demand Anti Oppression 101 and folks will prioritise its need.
And to think I used to give workshops years ago, do networking and bring folks together. Here I am now, I have so much to do to survive, I have very little for community outreach, makes me sad. Divide and Rule is kicking my ass and all our community butts so, lets all put our heads down and remember solidarity. It takes a village and together anything is possible so, keep on keeping on. As long as we keep working it, it works.
I am gonna back off from any new commitments just yet, I get all eager sometimes. Have to get some Social Housing first or I am gonna bust.
kym hothead hines.