It was twelve years ago on May 19 of 2006 that I was discharged from a recovery program in Florida. I’ve named this program as a violator of the ADA, however, because a few things happened that shouldn’t have.
1. They refused to read things when I asked kindly, saying it was not their job to do so.
They refused to allow me to truly have friends in the recoery network.
They absolutely refused to let me walk alone with a cane, the only way to learn independent travel.
They refused to allow me to use the Internet, and didn’t have the equipment to accommodate me doing research and Internet usage. All these things are violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but there’s more.
This program would benefit substance users, and it did so. However, for nonchemical dependents, it was harder in the residential program to relate to those folks. I was frequently abandoned to staff and not given the right kind of treatment.
If any friends or readers want to comment on either the Facebook post or this blog post, do tell me what recovery should look like for persons with disabilities. However, here’s a model for what nonchemical dependent recovery should look like for a blind person.
1. Therapy should be based not only on the fact that there are external sources hindering the person’s independence, but the person has either mood or mental health challenges preventing certain aspects of it.
Therapists should encourage, not hinder, research, reading, and use of independence tools while in recovery.
Therapists should discourage residential treatment unless ordered by a court in cases of substance use only.
Therapists should be giving, not taking away, the skills of blindness tools and making it possible for the blind person to feel liberated.
While in out patient recovery, a blind person should learn the skills of use of real life cutlery and real life food processor equipment in a home environment that encourages, not depletes, said skills.
Therapists and psychiatrists should be aware of when a person who is blind is being used for chemical restraint urposes and stop it immediately if this hinders independent thought and critical thinking, skills that all people should be taught.
These things should be taken into account when investigating out patient recovery centers. And moreover, I will reprint this in Medium so that we have a serious look at what it should look like when a disabled person gets mental health challenges. Many disabled females are abused to the point of no return around the world, and in the United States particularly, 70% to 80% of all females with all range of disability are subjected to verbal, physica, or sexual abuse. This includes figures about guardianship, a form of institutionalization. About 86% of females with disabilities are indirect or direct witnesses to abuse and sexual assault. I’m basing this on observations I’ve made of the disabled community throughout the years I’ve been able to do so.
Make sure you read this, and if you have anything to add to the recovery model, please respond and comment to your heart’s content.