think of a junkie. They think, “That’s the
other. That’s not me.” But many addicts, and
people in recovery, look just like you and me.
One of the reasons we model ourselves after
the gay rights movement — in particular,
movements like Act Up and Silence Equals
Death — is that they were able to transform
a culture by individuals coming for ward and
self-identifying as part of a group. That’s
where the real power is.
What are you doing specifically to create a
change? We design our programs so that our
individual clients have the opportunity to
reassess their relationship with substances
and make decisions that support living
healthier lives. On a broader scale, though,
one of the initiatives we’re taking is an ad
campaign for the general public called “This Is
What Recovery Looks Like.” Last year, we ran
a full-page ad in the San Francisco Business
Times with a photo of a beautiful, intact family with that tagline. You don’t know who in
the picture has dealt with addiction. But it
doesn’t really matter because the whole family has been affected. What we’re trying to
do is bring [forth] strong, healthy images of
what recovery looks like. For the new campaign, we’ve shot photos of 12 local Bay Area
residents, including a fireman, a bodybuilder,
an ordained minister and a white-collar marketing professional. The ads are running on
social media and buses and shelter stops in
San Francisco. My wish is to have our ad campaign on the banners along Lombard Street.
That one is a fantasy unless I get the funding.
How do you see this transformation unfolding? We’ve got to start with the people who
have been touched by this disease themselves.
If we are afraid of the backlash, we’ll never get
anywhere. I think there are some of us who
are no longer afraid. We’ve already experienced hell in our addiction. Our belief is that
as the movement grows, as more people come
for ward and experience strength and affirmation, we can provide hope for other people. We
can be role models. This is a treatable condition. Maybe not curable, but treatable. I know.
I’ve had to learn tools and strategies in recovery, but in the last decade, I’ve had a life better
than I ever could have imagined. m
Helping The Bay Relax for Over 40 Years
4100 Redwood Hwy,
San Rafael, CA 94903