Nancy Reagan. My involvement with Visions and my work with teens in their efforts in recovery can all be traced, I believe, to Nancy Reagan.
I was only two years old when the first lady of our nation began championing the “Just Say No” generation into action. There were endless public service announcements and nationwide elementary school campaigns in effort to stop the next wave of drug users from making the same mistakes our parents did. sThere we were, smack dab in the middle of the decade of self-indulgence, signing sobriety pacts years before we would start wearing deodorant.
The first lady’s anti-drug movement was about as effective as all the other trickle-down syndrome policies of the Reagan administration. Fast-forward ten years and those same children were doing the same drugs we were warned about. The ‘Just Say No’ moniker, as much a part of Saturday morning as cartoons and
fruit loops, gave the impression that the disease of alcoholism and addiction was a question of will. We were made to believe that fighting this progressive and fatal affliction was so simple. “Would you like onions on your burger?” No thanks. “Would you like to trade self worth and the innocence of childhood for jails, institutions, or death?” No thanks. As we now know, there is a lot
more to it than that.
For most people, these questions are that simple, but for people like me and the brilliant young people I have the gift to work with; it takes a complete psychic change as brought forth from working the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. This is why I do what I do. It is my wish to dispel the myth of willpower as a solution to our disease, and usher a new era of tolerance and understanding in
the fight that Nancy lost.