Monday, November 27, 2006

How much are we giving back?

For those of you who have been clean awhile, or maybe those who got here in the shape I got here, which was pitiful and feeling lucky to be alive, do you ever wonder if you're giving back enough?

With my 22nd sobriety date looming December 13th, I am examining where I am in my recovery and where I'd like to be on my 23rd birthday, one day at a time. I know that I've reached out and helped a few women find recovery. But I've wanted to do more. For years, the idea of reaching out to women on the streets has been in my mind. I've admired those who dedicate their lives to helping women at that level, but I've never been willing to sacrifice my former income to follow that path.

Getting sick a few years ago did a few things and one of those things was to disrupt my stream of income, allowing me to learn to live more frugally. It let me slow down enough to figure out what I, twodogsbarking, wanted to do with the rest of my life. One thing I knew for sure -- I wanted to write in a way that helped a lot of people. I hope soon, my daily meditation book will do that. But wait, there's more!

For the past few years the idea has been on my mind of doing street outreach and working with women to help them live a more balanced life without drugs and the corollary crime it takes to support a habit. A half-formed idea, I find it attacks me as I drive by a run-down, boarded-up motel thinking "that would make a great half-way house," is to open a half-way house for street gals wanting a better way of life.

It strikes me when I read articles, like a recent one in the New York Times by Bob Herbert in that talked about the lack of outrage when the man who invaded the Mennonite school in Pennsylvania shot only girls. What outrage would we have heard if he had chosen Jews or Hispanics, or Blacks, he asked rhetorically. He tied this to the absolute degradation of women and girls in our culture through the media, clothing designers and advertising. Unless our society wants to put emphasis into the disposability of women in today's society, I believe we as a nation are truly lost. Our girls stand to become victims much the same way many of us who drank and used were victimized. I don't believe any mother or father who has children would want that for their child.

And yet, who patronizes strip clubs and prostitutes or lingers on website devoted to pornography, torture and rape? Not too many women, I don't think. Until men become educated to the fact that the sex industry is not a victimless industry, as many would have us believe, both men and women alike who stand to profit from it, then this trade will continue.

What moves me, as I've blogged before in after watching "Born into Brothels," is the plight of these women and their children, who have little or no alternative to entering into the same life. The apple, in my opinion, can't fall far from the tree. It doesn't have the resources.

I feel like I've been twice given the grace of life, both through my recovery and through the transplant. When I look at the picture the donor family sent me of the 6-year old who died and who gave me life, I think I owe her and those like her more than I'm currently giving.

I believe if I make other people successful, I will be successful. I also believe if I want to do something badly enough and pray about it and it's God's work and God's will, great things will come to pass. Am I brave enough? More will be revealed as I continue to ponder and research this idea. Until tomorrow, enjoy your daily reprieve from the disease.

No comments: