yesterday i had the opportunity to share some experience i have collected over the years around meth use and especially recovery at a community forum hosted by the mile high meth project at a local restaurant it was titled “life reclaimed” and that title seems to have held a specific meaning for me as my role in it unfurled. i was scheduled to speak with one of the doctors from my workplace, but he called in the last minute with illness. maybe he had fears speaking in a room full of gay men. i know i certainly did. i have felt challenges being around groups of gay men since the 70’s and my coming out days. my experience was that we (gay men) are not the most supportive, leaning mostly towards judgmental, catty, and bitchy. yesterday morning met me with those same fears and eventually led me to the opportunity to walk through those fears.
i had no idea how i was going to speak for a full 1/2 hour or really how the words would come out. i have been quite busy (thankfully) and did not really write anything down. i did scribble some talking points as i sat in the restaurant waiting to go on. thank goodness i did.
turns out that i didn’t need the notes but once. as is my norm, once i started talking i found some flow. i began talking about when i worked for mhmp and was in chicago doing research on creating that program. i stayed with one of my best friends that weekend and my heart was flooded with memories, some so vivid and powerful that i believe i have been changed forever. the trip certainly cemented my commitment to working with addiction and gay men. and what a ride it has been.
well, chatty cathy ended up talking for an entire hour (and a little more). the smokers were getting antsy and needed a break. i talked about some of my experience. i talked about soar– science of addiction and recovery- and how the brain changes with extensive drug and alcohol use. i touched on mat- medicated assisted therapy (which was the doctor’s original bit). i talked about recovery, about being a part of the lgbt community and being in recovery, about pride and the perils of connecting with the debauchery. i talked about afr and my role with them including the recovery rally in september. and i talked about the peer mentoring project going on at my workplace now.
all this chatter led me to realize that i have changed over these last years. i have waded into the water and i have been baptised. and i have come away feeling filled with spirit. looking back- i don’t think i’d change a thing.