By: Marilyn L. Davis
A Public Role Models for All of Us
“I believe in recovery, and as a role model, I have the responsibility to let young people know that you can make a mistake and come back from it.” ― Ann Richards
Ann Richards became the 45th governor of Texas. She appointed record numbers of women and minorities to state boards and agencies and was a feminist role model.
After she died in 2006, the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders opened in Austin, TX, to continue her legacy.
Richards also served on many boards of philanthropic, educational, and public interest organizations.
However, Ms. Richards called “one of the great, great stories” of her life: her recovery from alcoholism and her nearly 26 years of sobriety.
We’re Private Role Models Every Day
Most of us are not going to run for political office. Although a thorough investigative look into my past might help me fill in the blanks and gaps, I’ll still pass. But that doesn’t mean that you, me, and all others in recovery don’t act as role models for others when we mentor or sponsor. Taking someone by the hand when:
- They’re scared or discouraged
- Going through a rough patch
- Just need to know someone cares
- Have similar issues that we’ve solved
Anonymous Can’t Model
Going public can seem scary, but I gave my first newspaper interview in 1990 when I opened the recovery home. As my mother said, “Well, no one had to read between the lines to know you are an addict and alcoholic, Marilyn.”
She wasn’t being critical; in fact, she went on to tell me that she was proud of what I was doing with my life.
My mother hoped that more people would understand and value people in recovery when I went public. Her perceptions of alcoholics and addicts changed as well. They were no longer ‘just people under the bridge,’ but her daughter.
In many ways, that’s still how addicts and alcoholics are still seen because so many of us choose to remain anonymous. So we can’t blame society for not knowing that we’re hard-working, law-abiding, productive members of society when we don’t let them know we’re in recovery and be a role model for those in recovery and not.
We Modeled Addiction, Didn’t We?
My actions made me a role model for addiction. I know how public I was in my addiction, and I frankly didn’t give a good damn who saw me, who I hurt, or who looked down upon me. Shouldn’t I be a public role model for recovery, too?”
What Will You Do Today to Model Recovery?
Slightly modifying that attitude has helped me be alright publicly with stating, “I am a recovering addict and an alcoholic, and I hope I model those behaviors, too.”
If you look around, you’ll find opportunities to model recovery. Here are a few ways to do that.
- Will you do something today that reduces stigma?
- Where can you model your actions that show that people in recovery are honest and upstanding?
- Are there people you need to make amends to that will know that recovery changes people for the better?
- Have you modeled recovery for your family?
- Can your children learn the hard lessons the easy way from you?
These are just a few of the ways that people model recovery.
So, what have you done today to model recovery? I’d love to know your ways in the comments; thanks.
Writing and recovery heals the heart
Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief at Two Drops of Ink and From Addict 2 Advocate. She encourages people to submit guest posts to both sites. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate, and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook
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Ready to help another? Can your story inspire someone to find and remain in recovery? How do you model recovery? There’s someone somewhere that needs to read about your struggles, successes, and ongoing recovery.