"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us." ~ Marianne Williamson

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kate Middleton Has New Title...

Last year, I joined the millions of viewers around the globe to watch the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. In all its spectacular glory, Kate's genuine nature never seemed to get overshadowed. This quickly made me think twice about just who Kate Middleton was and where the path ahead would lead her. Yet, I must confess that it didn't take much to make me a fan. I mean the affinity for all things girly and that sparkle lies within my DNA :). However, this week's announcement that her Royal Duchess would be using her status to champion the issue of addiction and recovery solidified my "groupie status." 

In some instances, mental illness and substance abuse are coexisting disorders. Many professionals within the field of addiction and recovery have recognized that mental health also plays an intricate role in recovery. To add to this, findings also show that over 50% of suicides in the U.S. were completed while under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of death. What some fail to recognize is that alcohol is a downer, meaning that it decreases brain activity and lowers ones ability to make clear decisions. To state it clearly, drugs and alcohol are NOT the answer to solving any problem, if anything they will only make things worse. Addiction and dependency on drugs and alcohol is an issue that comes with a stigma, just like that related to mental illness. This is why someone with star status, as Kate, should be applauded for her efforts to shed light on an issue that most certainly does not come with any fanfare. In fact, this is an issue that for too long has lived silently in the shadows, riddled with stigma. Taking on addiction and recovery, speaks volumes about her courage and sincere concern for others.

There was just something in reading the Los Angeles Times headline, "Kate Middleton's new cause: addiction and recovery" that made me sit up a little more straight and smile. Could it be true, Kate Middleton is truly one of us (mental health, addiction/recovery community)? Although she has yet to begin any work on this cause, there is no doubt about her ability to fulfill the task. If there is one thing I have found during my time working in the area of mental health advocacy, it's that it truly is a small world.    The mental health community may be few, but they are mighty and, boy do things get done! It is a community that I am very proud and honored to be apart of. It is a field where the path is often filled by naysayers, speed bumps, road blocks, re-routing, hills, potholes, and so on, but still they move forward to ensure that those without a voice are represented. So, in retrospect, it only makes sense for the Royal Dutchess to join the cause. After all, what other noble act is there than to genuinely and truly care about the life of another human being. To be motivated solely by the appreciation for life. To believe with every ounce of your being, that tomorrow is a better day and most importantly to have faith. That to me is a unique quality that shines brighter than any jewel at Kensigton Palace. 

So, it looks like England's future Queen has a new title, Kate Middleton, Addiction and Recovery Advocate. Sounds pretty darn good to me! I know the mental health, addiction, and recovery community welcomes her with open arms. Who would have ever thought working in mental health could look so fancy?

Hmmm...so, this is what really happens after the princess marries the the prince! Disney....please take note!

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