Pecan Pie

Social Anxiety from the South

Posts Tagged ‘anxiety

They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab and I said, “What the Fuck is Up with All this Gendered Sexist Bullshit?”

I’m sitting on a sofa in the upstairs room newly outfitted with IKEA living room furniture, a sign on the wall that reads “HUMBLE” in the style of an old gas station advert and a weird looking clock that is impossible to read which is really fucking annoying…I had to have my husband ship me a watch because TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.

I am waiting for class to begin.  And by class, I mean a 22 year old young middle class white woman who is triggered by Trap Music (the genre, not T.I.’s album with a ‘Z’) is going to speak to me and a room full of other women aged 19-40 somethings about…what?

Ah. Relationships with women. When we are in full blown addiction we will find women to be bitchy and take our boyfriends. I am not straight, but okay.  I never found my friends to betray me in that way, but…

Now we are learning about addictive behavior and…clothing?

I shit you not.

Stop wearing short skirts and Holy Respectability Politics, Batman! Dammit, girls, if you’d just dress like a lady, you probably wouldn’t shoot up so much and get facedownplasteredinthecar.

I bet you’re surprised that there’s research on the gendered ways we deal with addiction, just like there are racialized and sexualized ways…and those things intersect. Insert shock and awe here please.

Cis/straight/middleclass/white men are the bulk of all addiction treatments from AA to Passages. They are overwhelmingly run by that same demographic. And women, who raise the bulk of our children, suffer far greater instances of domestic violence, need assistance (that is often tied to drug testing or treatment completion) from the social safety net more often and experience sexual assault related to drug or alcohol misuse and abuse at astronomical rates are often completely left out of conversations about how best to deal with very specific issues when it comes to addiction. Well, unless they are being drug tested and having their babies taken away by DFCS. Wait, only poor women and WoC?  Okay.  Then we talk a lot about it. Mainly about taking them to prison and chaining them to beds if they are pregnant.

But our skirts, yeah?

In the US, the ‘‘good woman’’ is a gendered construct characterised as one who upholds exceptional moral standards; the good woman embodies an image of sexual purity, trustworthiness and innocence (Harris-Perry, 2011; Raddon, 2002; Thetford, 2004). Some scholars articulate that these images are also racialised, placing white woman as the hallmark image of the ‘‘good woman’’ – a mutually reinforcing construct of sexual and racial purity characteristic of societal ideals of whiteness (Anderson, 2001; Harris-Perry, 2011; HillCollins, 2000). Though scholars have long critiqued these societal ideals of femininity as discriminatory and unrealistic, the good woman image persists as a cultural identity that both women and mene spouse (Hill-Collins, 1990; Raddon, 2002; Thetford, 2004).

It is these gendered understandings of morality that get in the way of good sobriety, of good treatment and of trauma healing inside a facility. Already treatment is viewed as a moral failing, a neo-liberal understanding of individual responsibility with little biological/medical understanding of addiction (See Dr. Carl Hart’s work on addiction) and a pseudopsychologic/sociologic misunderstanding of social and psychological behavior.  Basically, you are bad and you should feel bad.  Jesus can help. Go to another meeting.

And it did make me feel bad. Even though I knew it was bullshit.

I watched girls, young women really, but barely old enough to be out of my Mama range, who had been violently assaulted or engaged in sex work (for which they had no reason to be ashamed) or engaged in sex for reasons they felt ashamed of (for their own reasons that I would honor) already be further shamed by talks delivered by completely unqualified techs with nary a background in women’s studies, addiction treatment, sexuality, sociology…or social work.

We are nowhere near being able to distinguish the brains of addicted persons from those of non-addicted individuals. Despite this, the ‘diseased brain’ perspective has outsized influence on research funding and direction, as well as on how drug use and addiction are viewed in society. Dr. Carl Hart

Even though:

Your risk of experiencing intimate partner violence increases if you are:

  • Poor
  • Less educated
  • An adolescent or a young adult
  • Female
  • Living in a high-poverty neighborhood
  • Dependent on drugs or alcohol

I sat and listened to this talk and then an activity whereby a fictional woman on a fictional island is fictionally coerced into having sex with a man with more power and resources than she in order to go to the other fictional island where her fictional fiancè is located, who proceeds to abandon her and shame her for her rape and she is then rescued as a distressed damsel by a third man all while her mother encouraged the entire scenario.

I later found out that the worst person in the story according to the LICENSED ADDICTION COUNSELOR was the woman–for a lack of integrity.

These two instances happened on the same day, back to back.

I’ve been sexually assaulted in the context of addiction a number of times. I’ve been coerced into sex in the context of addiction a number of times. I’ve been RAPED UNDER THE INFLUENCE A NUMBER OF TIMES.  I’ve also been violently assaulted by a loved one in the context of addiction and I’ve had my mom counsel me to “carefully consider my options” when it came time to probably leave. I’ve had horrific and shameful encounters with women friends in the context of addiction. I’ve been blamed for all of these things as a woman and as an addict/alcoholic by any number of people throughout my time in that world.

So. Yeah. Triggered. Sobbing.  And attempted to make some kind of headway with the head of program direction…but, you know, as an addict/alcoholic my word really didn’t mean shit. As a victim. As a survivor. AS A FUCKING SOCIOLOGIST.

“What can you do to gain knowledge in these situations?
Honestly, I dunno you ignorant fuck, what can you do to protect your clients from further trauma and respect the knowledge we have as experts in our own lives and hey these degrees that are costing me three times your fucking yearly salary?  Yeah?

Okay no then.

I heard the words slut, bitch, and whore more times than I can count and I don’t mean in a take back the night wild hairy underarmed feminist kind of way either.

I listened as male clients inspected the bodies of female clients, who touched them inappropriately, who bragged about having sex on property with young women who were clearly vulnerable and had limited opportunities for non-sexual physical contact (more on that and the rampant queerphobia later).

I know of at least two women kicked out for what amounted to specifically labeled gendered behavior that was not allowed and women shamed for not being ladylike and women who relapsed immediately after their discharge.

There was only one group who regularly “succeeded” and I’m not even sure we can call it that.

Source Material

A. J. Gunn & K. E. 2015. “Intra-group stigma: Examining peer relationships among women in recovery for addictions.” Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy. 22(3): 281–292.

Babcock, Marguerite L and Connor, Bernadette. 1981. “Sexism and treatment of the female alcoholic: a review.” Social Work. 26(3):233-238. 

McKim, Allison. 2014. “Roxanne’s Dress: Governing Gender and Marginality through Addiction Treatment.” Signs: Journal Of Women In Culture & Society 39(2): 433-458.

Written by thelittlepecan

April 25, 2017 at 11:16 pm

They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab and I Finally Said Yes: A Series

I don’t know how to start a description of deciding to go into rehab. I’d had years of meth use behind me…working on my second decade of being clean. I couldn’t stop drinking and eventually I found myself handcuffed on the side of the interstate with my 10 year old precious boy in my car.

Seemed like I should get my shit together.  This was clearly beyond acceptability.

You should see my admission photo. I look like Bambi met a MACK truck on a dark Smoky Mountain road and truly had no idea which way was left.

So, I went right.

I’m not a wallflower. I’m anything but. But you couldn’t force me to talk that first day, though force me they did.

I was frantic to find anyone who seemed like me. On the inside. I was determined to take this for all it was worth and force myself to ignore whatever bullshit I heard.

And heard it I did.

Racist, sexist, ableist, queerphobic, antitheistic, antiatheist bullshit.

It was horrific and traumatic and beautiful and freeing and stifling and one of the greatest experiences of my life.

I stopped having panic attacks. I leaned on people very different from me. I learned just how deep my racial and class and educational privilege is and how far that shit would carry me at the expense of others.

I fell in love.

I fell in love with myself.

 

These are my experiences. These are my analyses. These are my words.

 

Hold on.  I think I’m back, Bitches.

Written by thelittlepecan

April 22, 2017 at 10:08 pm

Welcome to the New Semester

I am super overwhelmed.

I, once again, took on as many classes as they would let me teach.  At $2300 per three hour class, I felt like I had no choice.  At this point, I’m going to have to do the same thing in the Spring, assuming they even want me back.

What if they don’t want me back?

After last semester’s devastating evaluations, I am afraid and desperately trying to find the balance between connecting with five classes of 32 students and holding true to my policies.

Due to family struggles, I don’t feel like I can teach fewer classes.  Due to those same struggles, I feel less sure of myself, much more anxious and borderline hopeless at reaching my students.

Then, I have a good day.  Thank Bob for those days.

I feel like I’m getting the hang of being a face-to-face teacher.  I’ve implemented the things I said I would (grade policies, talking to my students about how the class is going, being kind and understanding even when I have to say, “no”) and I’m succeeding at some of them.

I’m still struggling with names.  I guess I can’t get it all.

If you’re a student, please know that it’s hard to stand in front of a room full of twenty-somethings, sometimes with sweat stains, occasionally saying the inappropriate thing, driving difficult discussions about heated topics…and feel confident.

I love what I do.  I think I can be really good at it.  I just want to know that my new institution will give me the time to grow into that person…preferably while not driving me to the poor-house in the meantime.

Also, to my fellow adjuncts some resources:

Culture: The Urinal Game

Social Inequality: Cut-Throat Monopoly (yes, even more than the original game)

Please give me all your activity suggestions for Social Problems and Intro.

Written by thelittlepecan

September 13, 2013 at 10:31 am

Posted in atheism

Tagged with , , , ,

I’m Allowed My Crazy, Too.

This entry is going to be intensely personal, probably not very profound and definitely clumsy. I apologize in advance.

Those of you who read my parenting blog (pecantheparent.com) know my family is really struggling. Those of you who read this blog know my issues with anxiety.

Anyway, I have a number of friends who are going through difficult patches; break-ups, make-ups, relationship working through-ups. Many of them also suffer from anxiety, some have PTSD and/or depression.

I have tried to be a good friend when my whole world feels like it is crashing down around me. I have invited friends to my home and tried to create a safe, but honest, space where issues could be discussed. I have a bad habit of taking on responsibility, pain, anxiety…that isn’t mine.

This week I knew, eventually, probably…certainly my own feelings were going to erupt. I tried to reach out and let my loved ones know that it was coming, it would be ugly and that I would be a hot mess.

My child is in a psychiatric facility and has been for a week. He assaulted me. He ran away for 24 hours. I haven’t run in 6 days.

Last night, at a party, it all came to a head…I was verbally abusive to my spouse when I became over stressed. I had a minor altercation with a new friend. Then, my attitude towards my husband became too much for him.

Needless to say, we left. On the way home, the badness ensued and I’ll spare the details…but the most painful thing of the entire night was being told I treated someone I care about like shit.

Not told. Berated.

Not my husband (who I had actually treated badly). But someone who has needed my friendship recently and I have provided that in all the ways I know how. If those have been inadequate, that moment was not the time…and anyway, I HAVEN’T been inadequate. I have been selfless. Yes, I’m going to give myself some props for that.

Because I’m ALLOWED that. It’s okay to say “I am a good person. I have done a good job.”

I’m not perfect, but I am a good friend and in my time of crisis I put my own mental health aside to be there for others. I’ve been yelled at (because I can “take it” apparently) at least three times by stressed out friends, I’ve been yelled at for not wanting to talk before I was ready, I’ve been told to calm down, to chill out, to “just breathe”.

Well, no. I told everyone my day would come and all my shit would surface and it would ugly and I would need that support. It came, it was ugly and instead…I got whatever last night was.

I am fortunate to have the spouse and many friends I do who have reached out today.

But, I will NOT apologize for something that not only did I not do, but even if I had done would be completely forgivable, given my current level of personal crisis and the number of times I’ve allowed others to work through their own crises with me.

Fuck. That.

I’m allowed a little bit of crazy, too.

Written by thelittlepecan

June 30, 2013 at 9:15 pm