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Columnist is right - Kirk W. Pascoe

This letter is being written in response to Ritchy Dube's comments in his Rap Session column in regard to people either unwilling or unable to accept sober alcoholics/addicts and ex-cons as equals (as counsellors).

This letter is being written in response to Ritchy Dube's comments in his Rap Session column in regard to people either unwilling or unable to accept sober alcoholics/addicts and ex-cons as equals (as counsellors). I have worked in the addiction field for the past 12 years after sobering up here in Sudbury in 1994.

Since that time, my observations support many of Dube's comments. In working with an average of 120 to 140 addiction-based clients per year over the past 12 years, I was myself amazed at the biases on both sides.

I cannot count how many times I have heard how it is impossible for someone who has not suffered from an addiction to understand the struggles such a person faces getting sober, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

While Dube's observations and statements are true to a great degree, does not living that experience or travelling that path diminish the fact someone might have something positive to offer of course not.

Dube's article draws on an unfortunate fact. There does exist a bias by the vast majority of those who are considered normal by society's standards and have graduated from universities.

 They have an uncanny knack of seeing themselves as superior in intellect and ability to those who have had to struggle to rebuild their lives from addiction and or being on the wrong side of the law. This bias does exist as I have witnessed it myself over the years.

What makes this bias even stranger is that when all these graduates are third- and fourth-year students, they are very happy to do their placements in places where it would be difficult to find a college diploma on a wall.

So the question is, why? The answer is frontline experience. I have often heard it said that they come, take our experience and in three or four years, look down upon us.

Dube's article is overdue.

Kirk W. Pascoe
Sudbury




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