Some things I do not miss since becoming dry: that overall awful feeling physically, including the shakes, a splitting headache, pains in my arms and legs, bleary eyes, fluttering stomach, droopy shoulders, weak knees, a three-day beard, and a flushed complexion. Also, facing my loved one at breakfast. Also, composing the alibi and sticking to it. Also, trying to shave or put on make-up with a shaky hand. Also, opening up my wallet to find it empty. I don’t miss these things, do I?
My grandpa Walsh gave me this little AA book back in 1998 when I had my own problem with drugs and alcohol. Recently, I realized that the things a recovering alcoholic (or drug addict) does not miss about getting high can easily be translated into the things I do not miss about seeking privilege. In an effort to draw out these connections and strengthen my resolve to abandon privilege, I constructed my own list of things I do not miss:
- I do not miss measuring myself with neighbors, friends, co-workers–all in secret–about who has the best possessions, job, social standing, etc.
- I do not miss moving at the speed of machines and feeling dizzy with my anxiety, always trying to keep up.
- I do not miss working harder and harder to plan for benefits, respect, and money.
- I do not miss living in denial about all this and justifying myself with soft lies.
- I do not miss churches and sermons that could only apply to people like me with way too much privilege.
- I do not miss feeling disgusted with my options (yet responsible for my choices) and powerless to make a change.
- I do not miss taking advantage of people in poverty for their willingness to go above and beyond.
- Also, I do not miss grabbing more than my fair share.
- Also, I do not miss trying to document “the lives of the poor.”
No, I do not miss these things!