Addictions are pervasive in our world in North America. Many of us use substances to anaesthetize pain in our lives. Government has criminalized and demonized addictive behaviour, which is likely inherited or genetic, and is symptomatic of other things happening in the family. Addiction is a family disease, and there is no one in the family that is immune to the impact of someone in their family, or among their friends, who is struggling with addiction, regardless of the type of addiction that’s involved.
I work from a Harm Reduction model, moving toward an Abstinence model. I believe that for many people 12-step groups, and sponsors are an important part of recovery, for the addict and for other family members. While I understand that this is scary for many people, I have found it helpful for me, and for other people I’ve had in my life. I am fortunate to live in a community where there is considerable access to groups for various kinds of addiction.
As an ASL Interpreter, I have interpreted in a variety of 12-step groups over the years, and have found the process helpful to me in my work. I have also worked with people who’s parents, partners, friends or siblings are addicts, either active or in recovery. Many of them have a hard time finding good services in the community at large because so few people seem to understand about addiction, and addictive behaviour and thinking, and how it affects everyone in their circle.
I regularly attend meetings of the Toronto Harm Reduction Network, as my schedule allows, to find out what’s currently happening in the field, and I receive information from the Canadian Harm Reduction Network as well.
I have personally attended Children of Alcoholics meetings many years ago, because I was trying to understand someone who was in my life at the time.