Politics – What’s Recovery Got to Do With It?

By Kelly Fitzgerald Junco, SHE RECOVERS Marketing Team | SHE RECOVERS® Foundation

Not only do politics play a role in our trauma and what we’re recovering from, but it can also impact how we heal.
– Kelly Fitzgerald Junco

intimate partner violence
Politics often gets a bad rap, and rightly so, as it can be triggering for so many. We often hear that we shouldn’t talk about politics with strangers and definitely shouldn’t bring it up in recovery circles. While I understand the sentiment, the reality is that politics and its consequences can have a deep impact on those who are healing in recovery. A simple definition of politics is “the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status”*. The power dynamics, decisions, and sets of activities related to politics are the reason many women have sought healing and recovery for themselves. Some members of the SHE RECOVERS community are recovering from racial injustice, discrimination, oppression, institutional abuse, or being under the power of individuals and institutions who didn’t protect their rights as a woman or a human.
 
 
These experiences can cause re-traumatization, grief, triggers, moral injury, and fear, just to name a few. When we are open and honest about these feelings and situations, we understand that politics has everything to do with recovery. It is our responsibility as a trauma-responsive organization to provide our community members with spaces to talk openly and honestly about the impact of politics as it relates to their recovery. While some recovery circles might assume politics is not a part of recovery, we acknowledge and recognize that it absolutely is.
 
 
The truth of the matter is we all live and function under a patriarchal system. Patriarchy is defined as “a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women (and members of the LGBTQ+ community) are largely excluded from it.” As an organization, we recognize this and welcome those who may be recovering from the consequences of this type of system. Living under a patriarchal system also stigmatizes substance use. For example in the journal Perspectives on Social Work, it was reported in the study, The Influence of Patriarchy on Elder Female Substance Abuse, “Central to patriarchy is the premise that the female experience is disenfranchised. Evidence of this can be seen in the harsh, moralistic stigma applied to women who abuse substances, but not to men. Even though stigma can act as a deterrent to a woman for developing a substance use disorder, stigma can also act as a barrier to accessing treatment for a woman who is already engaged in substance abuse.”
 
 
Not only do politics play a role in our trauma and what we’re recovering from, but it can also impact how we heal. In the United States, many addiction treatment centers rely on the health insurance system to function and folks seeking recovery may not be able to get the treatment they need if they don’t have insurance or are otherwise unable to pay for the cost of treatment. Because of this, the process of recovery is sometimes perceived only as a medical issue with focus placed on the physical aspects of recovering, and not the holistic and human issue it actually is. SHE RECOVERS believes recovery is a journey to wholeness through taking care of our mind, body, and spirit. That’s why it’s part of our mission to make recovery accessible to all women who need it.
 
 
We believe in a world where recovery is available for all who want it and that the system of power associated with politics no longer makes such a devastating impact on humans who will later need to heal from its consequences. We also believe in co-creating a welcoming space where everyone feels as comfortable as possible sharing their hardships and their triumphs.
 
While we know that recovery is not all about politics, we acknowledge that it does play an important role. We also encourage every person in our spaces to practice personal agency and take care of themselves if they may hear or see something that could trigger a trauma response or memory.
 
 
Politics – What’s recovery got to do with it? Everything!
 
*SHE RECOVERS Foundation does not endorse or oppose any particular political party.

Taking steps to heal trauma is difficult.

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