The following conversation took place while I was speaking with the inmates at the Milwaukee women’s prison this past Friday night.
Me: “Welcome ladies! Thanks for joining me tonight.”
Woman: “You don’t look like one of us.”
Me: “One of who?”
Woman: “One of US!” She points to herself and her friends. “You don’t like like an addict.”
Me: “What do I look like?” 🤔
Woman: “I don’t know, like a kindergarten teacher or something.”
Collective laughter and nods of agreement.
Me: “I get that a lot, actually! 🤣 What if I told you I look exactly how an addict looks, the only difference is I’m not using a substance anymore?”
I started my story.
I told them where I was in life – WHO I was in active addiction. How far I fell. My rock bottom. The consequences of my actions. The wreckage. The pain and despair. The tears and anger. Then finally, the light. A decision to change. How I made it through. The women who helped me. How my life has been transformed because of my dedication to recovery.
Me: “Just because I don’t look like I came from the school of hard knocks, doesn’t mean I haven’t been there before. I look nothing like the woman I used to be, because I don’t live her life anymore.”
Woman: “That makes me think maybe I could be OK. You know? If I give myself the chance.”
Me: “I KNOW you can! Now, let’s talk about how…”
The therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel. 💜