Yep, I am very ashamed of myself. I had thought that I was FREE to pass my judgements. Judgements that I wasn’t even really aware I was passing until I had a problem within my own home.
I remember the year I went through chemotherapy (1999) and each time I rode in the car back from UofW from seeing the doctor we would take the same exit back up to my apartment in Seattle. I can visually see it as I type. Head south, take the James street exit, go down and take a left either up Cherry or on James Street.
The same woman was there day in and day out. Very clean looking, had tanned skin and a purse on the ground by her feet with cash stuffed in it. Yep…. and she was high. So high somedays that she could barely stand there with her sign begging for money.
But that is not why I was judging her – did you read what I wrote that is etched in my memory? She was very clean, tan and looked just like me or you except she was HIGH. Yep…. I was looking at her through the car windown judging her for begging for money while looking all clean and having a tan. I was feeling like she was just out there to make the money needed to get her by to the next fix.
Well, those judgements were passed likely for many years without me even feeling it like I do now. Why is that? Because, I am faced with this disease of addiction in my home, with my child, and it affects the very core of me.
I now can see that the disease is the driving force. That she was much like my child and didn’t have control of herself. The drug had taken over her mind. She likely was unable to go through a day without it. Matter of fact, it was likely because she NEEDED it so badly just to have withdrawals.
I didn’t see this woman as someone with an illness that was sick. I saw her for something much different and I am ashamed of that today. I have learned so much over the years and in the course of my lifetime. I have a different understanding now. One that I might not have unless I had to deal with it myself.
I felt that it was important to put this out there so I can say it and finally own it and let it go. I have a new understanding and new view of those struggling. I am ashamed and sorry that I ever felt like I could and should judge another human being. I hope to bring light to addiction and a new understanding and awareness in my community. So that people like myself back in 1999 can have a true understanding of what addiciton is and how we can support those affected without pasing that judgement.