We Are “Those Other People” | Civic Engagement and Addiction Recovery Solutions
For many of us who spent a good chunk of our lives feeling ostracized and alienated from society, the idea of meddling with “politics” can feel a bit unnatural and come across as a little outside of our bubble.
For a good number of us who have experienced living far removed from our nation’s institutional structures and all but forgotten about as we dwelled deep within the underbelly of our own communities, civic engagement, or “getting involved in politics,” can seem like a pretty foreign activity and one that is meant for, well, you know…meant for “those other people.”
See, for a good number of us, a pervasive feeling of powerlessness in the face of power has marked our very existence. The idea that we could truly influence those in power and sincerely initiate lasting change can most certainly be one that is daunting at best and hopelessly out of reach at worst. “Why bother?” is what we ask ourselves. “Nothing is ever going to change anyway” is what we tell ourselves.
The reality is, however, that every great social movement in this country has been led by the ostracized, alienated, oppressed, marginalized, stigmatized and once powerless people of this country. The reality is that the power to initiate change in our society lies within the masses, not the elite. It can be easy to forget that fact, easier to ignore it and easiest to avoid the inherent personal responsibility this fact holds, but at the end of the day, the reality is that a large group of organized, passionate and persistent people has never failed to make change in this country.
We know that one out of every three families in this country is currently impacted by addiction. Over 22 million Americans are currently struggling with addiction and its related issues. Another 23 million or more have been able to find solutions and overcome alcohol or other drug use challenges. When you put it all together, that makes for a lot of people, a lot of families, a lot of communities and a lot of what looks like a large mass to me.
Regardless of how removed from politics we may have once felt or how powerless we may feel even to this day, each and every person who has in one way or another been impacted by addiction can be a part of influencing change. We are each a part of the mass. We are each a part of the solution. We each contain a portion of the power just waiting to be unleashed. It is time we unleash that power and go make some change.
On July 26th in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention, Facing Addiction will be holding a Caucus for Addiction Solutions. Alongside highlighted speakers such as former Senator Patrick Kennedy, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Governor Jack Markell (DE) and Dr. Arthur C. Evans, many experts, delegates and advocates will be discussing solutions for the addiction crisis facing our country. This is a historic opportunity to show just how large our mass is, just how powerful our voice can be and just how important it is that those who appear to hold the power in this country understand where those of us who truly hold the power want them to be focusing. As more and more people die each and every single day from this preventable and treatable health condition, we want our politicians to be implementing and funding the solutions for preventing, treating and providing ongoing recovery support services to those at risk for or struggling with addiction. I hope you’ll join me in showing up to your place in the mass. I hope you’ll come and be a part of the solution. We ARE, after all, “those other people”, and the time has come to show up and take back our power.