3 great meeting types with the best recovery rates

Ok, gang, how are you all on this fine Saturday morning? It’s gray and humid here, but it’s been a good day, regardless. Even if it wasn’t, I can start my day all over again whenever I want.
Today I thought I’d share with you all my experiences with the 3 main addiction recovery meetings, at least to my knowledge.

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Letting go. It's a good thing.

I got clean and sober in AA, having followed my Dad in, a little more than a year after he figured out what his problem was…(as opposed to the countless people, places, and things that he thought were the cause of his troubles)
I was pretty sure, as much as I was like him, if it was Dad’s actual problem, there was a good chance that the chemicals (including alcohol, of course) were also at the root of my misery. I remember spending many hours at a meeting place where NA & AA both had regularly scheduled meetings. Folks from all walks of life could be found there from dawn to dusk, all with (mostly) the same (ish) goal: to stop the pain. Some were of the understanding that alcohol &/or drugs were the problem. Many thought that the police and the Judge were their only real pain. I know many folks grabbed ahold of sobriety and were “willing to go to any lengths”, while perhaps as many others just showed up to get their card signed. The oldtimers used to tell us they would “gladly refund your misery” if sobriety, uh, wasn’t for you. Sometimes folks went out to do some more research (to be surethey really were drunks), and came crawling back in, and sometimes they didn’t make it back.
By going to meetings several times a week, I was frequently reminded of the alternatives to getting sober and staying that way. Sobriety, even being such a foreign idea, sounded better to me than continuing to live in the darkness and misery I was so accustomed to.

I found kindred spirits in the 12-stpe rooms. Regardless of what or where or who I was with, before, I was never fully at ease. I didn’t find comfort for my heart, my spirit, in any of the places where I looked. Only after some time clean/sober, with the help of a Sponsor, did I begin to feel…comfortable. They told me that the solution was in the steps, and I was willing to do anything, so I worked the steps. Somewhere along the way I realized that in contrast to before, when pain was just the inevitable result of so many poor choices, now pain was a real part of growing away from that mess. Hence the phrase “growing pains”.

At some point, I became curious about Celebrate Recovery. I wasn’t ready to go to church yet (not for about 5 years, and then it was a while before I felt at all comfortable there), but I did attend a few cR meetings. They were similar to AA, but a bit too sweet for me. I had previously been in a very abusive situation with a man who claimed to be a Christian, and that left a vile taste in my mouth where anything that resembled “churchianity” was concerned.
And also, I was more comfortable (still am, truthfully)in a more hardcore meeting. “If I wanted someone to pat me on the ass & tell me everything was gonna be alright, I’d go to a bar.”
I needed the truth in love, yes, but not given with a smile and some sugar. That was my impression of CR, at least at the ones I went to. I was used to getting one over on anyone who was the least bit trusting and/or ignorant to the hustles that are such an integral part of the addict lifestyle. Also, my experience had taught me to never trust people who were “happy” all the time. I still feel that way at times. But if you’re comfortable in a church setting, I wholeheartedly encourage you to go to Celebrate Recovery. I’m a big fan of several meetings every week, and that usually means more than one of these fellowships. Good news: you’ll find other folks from the other meetings at the other two, too.

After about 10 years, I began attending NA meetings instead of AA.
When I got sober, the NA meetings I’d been to were more like meat markets (AA can be the same, to be sure), but I heard so much “glorifying the drug” and the like, that I’d settled into AA. Plus, AA was where Dad went, so… 🙂
So, after 10 years or so in recovery, I went back to NA, as I had a friend wirh longterm recovery who attended AA and NA. By that time, there was a whole lot more recovery…maybe it was just the meetings I went to, but it seemed more abstinance-focused than before. I knew more than one person with more time clean than me, and that was comforting. I enjoy NA because there’s no one looking at you funny when you talk about drugs, and I suppose I have more in common with the members there.
That being said, I qualify for both fellowships (and a few more, really, but that’s for another post.), and nowadays it doesn’t much matter to me which I attend. The fellowship is of great importance to me now, having gone through the steps more than a couple of times. I’m positive that I’d never have made it this far if I hadn’t had a Sponsor to help me through the steps.
I encourage anyone who’s contemplating this whole “sobriety” thing to check out any or all these groups. Give them a couple of tries, each.
What have you got to lose? You might just find your tribe. And, if I’m lucky, I might get to see you there.

Posted from my soggy cabin in the mountains.

2 Major Life Changes I wouldn’t have missed for the world

Anyone who’s been around 12-step programs for any amount of time has probably heard the warnings not to make any major life changes in the first year. In my early days of recovery, I thought a year sounded like an impossibly long period of time. They were teaching me about “one day at a time”, and “just for today”, after all.
The “no relationships for the first year (or two)” was super easy for me; I was single-parenting a newborn who was on round-the-clock medications, breathing treatments/oxygen, and diuretics (diaper changes become a priority FAST when your baby is peeing their weight every few hours). Not to mention the heart surgeries (2 before he was 6 months old)…yeah, even the completely insane guys weren’t willing to get too involved with that mess.
I don’t even want to imagine how I looked during that first year. I honestly can’t tell you what “early sobriety” was like
because my focus from before sun-up until after sun-down was about doing whatever I had to, to keep my Little One alive. As if all that wasn’t stressful enough, after his second surgery, there were several months where my Dr.s instructed me “don’t let him cry.” Seriously? Because of the kind of congenital heart defect he was born with, and the way his heart kind of sat on his diaphragm, whenever he cried, he threw up. He was a “failure to thrive” baby to begin with, so that was one more thing I had to stay on top of…
I really don’t have the words to aptly describe the frantic, hyper-vigilent state in which I spent every waking moment. Because of his fragile condition, my son was not allowed to go to a daycare or otherwise be around other children, or anyone sick, really. By God’s grace I got to have a respite nurse (absolutely an angel) come in for 2-3 hours once or twice a week. Wanna guess what I did when she was there?

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Making open heart surgery look easy

Yeah. I slept or went to a meeting.

So, that’s one major change: This adorable little person invaded my life and became my Higher Power…but it feels like it should count for more than one!!

I suppose getting a divorce would count as major, for most, right? Ok, so somewhere in the first year, my then-husband demanded a paternity test, and…yeah, he just wasn’t down with supporting someone else’s child, not to mention the (expletive expletive EXPLETIVE expletive) that cheated on him. Seriously, is it such a surprise that a falling-down drunk, über addict would sleep around? I didn’t think so. C’est la vie. That one is the marital experiment for sure where I was the *hostage-taker. I did really regret the way I treated him. I made amends but don’t think he really cared. I can’t say as I blame him.
Sigh.

That’s probably major life change #2, huh?
I was gonna give you 3 major life changes that I experienced in my first year clean, but frankly those two are just about the only noteworthy events of my first year sober. Considering the unrelenting chaos of the previous several years, those two were kind of a relief.
The most incredible life change that I made in my first year clean/sober was that I was afraid and I didn’t run. Women in treatment with me had left their children, left and right, to continue their drinking & drugging careers. Only by the grace of God did I not join their ranks.
Another part of that fear was that I was handed unfathomable responsibilities, and I didn’t run.
Pre-recovery, I liked to call myself “Abbie Pan”, because I was the girl who wouldn’t grow up. Ironic, isn’t it? I had some loud and tearful conversations with God about that. “You picked the WRONG MO**** ****ING GIRL for this!!!!” Was part of my side of the conversation. I can see Him shaking His head slowly, and, as when soothing an upset child, brushing my hair from my tear-stained face. I guess He picked the right girl. I surely wouldn’t have made the same choice.

So, that’s 2 un-freakin-believable things that I got through without changing my sobriety date.
How about you? Did you have any big changes thrust upon you in early recovery? Did you make it through, clean?
Please share below. I love hearing your stories.

*Alcoholics don’t have relationships, they take hostages.

Posted from my chair in front of the fan.

YAAAY it’s a guest post!!

Hey everyone! As you may recall, a couple of weeks ago (give or take), I sent out a request for a guest blogger. Well, here’s the first Master Blogger to guest post for me. She’s no stranger to mental…challenges, and I think you’ll really dig her work. I sure do. This young woman has a lot of insight, and I expect that she’s only getting started!

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Hi! My name is Fai. I’m from NYC and I’m 18 years old. People often call me an old soul. I began writing to help me cope with some hard times and I guess it’s surprising because I was always told that I was a horrible writer. But I hope you enjoy and thank you for reading!

Guest Post- Snowfall

There’s this picturesque image of snow in our mind. It’s pure, fluffy, and a never ending cover of white. It’s almost inviting till you trudge out in it and feel it, rubbing your cheeks against the icy cold feeling that suddenly feels unpleasant and hard to handle an hour through.

I love when snow falls. But then I remember why I hate it when I’m surrounded by it.

Depression had this almost mysterious, romantic idea to it as well. I can’t explain it. It’s naïve but that image was definitely there before I had a long journey with it. The loneliness was captivating and the defeated girl lying in bed for some reason was really pretty. I’m not saying I wanted to go through depression or my panic disorder. But mental illness was something people couldn’t relate to. Even though, ironically it’s something most people go through without even realizing. However, it was the first thing people separated themselves from, distancing themselves to it. To them it was just another part of the list of problems a character had to deal with in a book. They were the lyrics to a song or the plot to a black and white music video.

However, the first thing I was told when I found out I had a major depressive disorder, was that it was like a cold. It was as common as a cold. And just like a cold it feels like crap. (The last part was something I deduced on my own.)

I was in the middle of my sophomore year in high school. At that time my regular life consisted being out from 6am in the morning to 8pm at night, doing whatever possible to make me stand out in my already prestigious high school. By then I thought it was normal to have grown up crying every day in the shower, staying awake at night, and having suicidal thoughts as often as I would just think. But to me and everyone around me I was everything but depressed. I was so immersed in my student life and the ambition to do well, that the pressure itself made it hard to even question what the hell was wrong with me. I was already suffering to just get 2 hours of sleep every night. Those anomalies to my “great” life didn’t matter. They shouldn’t matter, I would tell myself.

But that year I slowly started missing school. It started with one day. Then another day and then another. No one saw anything wrong with it. I was doing well with my studies so missing some days didn’t seem to matter to anyone. They just assumed I was taking more “mental” health days than usual which was what the kids in my high school would call it when they missed a day, not because they’re sick but to catch up on sleep or just to rest on the huge workload.

However, despite missing school a day here or there, I kept up with my work and countless club activities as best as I could. Again, without anyone or even me realizing I was falling behind. It was still alright. I could easily catch up. Procrastinating was normal in our family.

But the April of that year was when there was no denying it. It was the trigger that was needed. And my body reacted as if it was waiting for it.

I was sad but I was never good at projecting what I wanted. So when my mother said she needed to go see my grandparents because they were sick in the middle of the school year, I did what I was good at. I smiled and encouraged her when she doubted whether she should go or not, worried I would be sad about her missing my 16th birthday. As always, it was easy to feel no resentment and nodded that I would be fine and pushed her to go. It was the right thing to do. I should understand, I would think.

I always guessed after my breakdown that feeling the loneliness that I felt for years just suddenly physically face me, felt like a punch in the gut.

It just might have been the momentum my degrading mind needed. There was literally no one physically around me at that time. My sister who was away at her first year of college was often hard to reach, my mother overseas and my father at work for most of the day. Then there was school and education that I had dedicated my tiny life to was hard to keep up with. So, I abandoned it and began missing school by weeks instead of days.

So, the next part just happened naturally. I tried to kill myself while my father was asleep. I felt like a coward as I held the knife to my wrists but I couldn’t get the pressure right enough to make a deep cut. I kept slicing and pushing it down against my wrists but only little scratches would appear. Did I lack strength? Was I too fearful to kill myself? Not only did I fail but in the end all I could think was that I was a pathetic weakling. The countless years and nights of imagining this scenario lead to nothing. God, I was totally making a big deal out of nothing.

There were tears, breakdowns, hysteria, confessions, therapy, hospital visits, and the need for a lot of tissues.

Since that day it’s been more than 2 years. During those two years, I became an invalid. I was physically fine but I stayed in my bed not eating for days, hygiene nonexistent, speaking, or basically doing anything. It was hard for me to step out the door. Sunlight was my enemy.

I had stopped going to school completely. However, during those years there were attempts but like people say, you body knows when you’re still not ready. So, I failed miserably at returning to society.

But then again, this isn’t a story of depression or why/ how things went wrong. I’ve stopped nitpicking to why this happened, questioning was it the bullying, my family, or my life itself. Now, to me and is going to be about healing. My journey to getting better has been long and hard. I’m still on that journey. Exactly 2 years after my breakdown (after my suicide attempt during which I was exceptionally calm) I began to actually go out again and see a progression in my health getting better. It didn’t feel like a vicious cycle of trying and failing again. But there are remnants of the storm that’s still there, but the majority has gone by. Some would be my extreme weight loss from starving myself weeks and months. Others would be letting go of pretty much all I knew.

However, that might have been also the best part. My therapist would often compare me to a phoenix. Often you hear the advice of throwing all the weeds or bad seeds, basically people or things that aren’t a good influence in your life, away. I threw out my whole crappy life and started anew. The family I thought that would never change, did eventually, after I changed. Compared to the superficial hundreds that I knew for my first attempt at life, now I can actually name someone in my support system. Not one but six actually. That’s definitely more than the zero before.

However, all this positivity and happy crap you won’t honestly feel the point off if you’re still in the middle of it. I was terrified, angry at the world and mostly confused at when things would get better during those very long years. You won’t feel it or see it till it happens, when things begin to get better. To some that’s the end. To other’s that’s the beginning. I do know that those two years felt like a never ending black hole where time ceased to exist. All I can say is that even if you can’t hold on just breathe. Just exist because I know there will be a day that will come and you won’t regret doing it. From that day you can start living and not just existing. But I’m sorry if I can’t tell you till when you have to wait. It’s the scariest, and the part where you have to be the bravest. But it is also the most rewarding. Not because you become wiser or stronger. But because life actually gets better.
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Please be sure to go by her place & tell her you read her guest blog here!

searching for fai

Posted from my cabin in the mountains.

Tools For Living Sober Part 1

Here’s some info that is just priceless for anyone in recovery. Thanks for sharing it, Magz!

SOBER COURAGE

Welcometo the first part to the new feature on the Sober Courage blog, called Tools for Living Sober which is based on the the highly recommended book published by Alcoholics Anonymous called Living Sober.

LivingSober

The Living Sober text was first published in 1975 by AA World Services. It is a book that describes methods to stay sober that were developed by AA members after the Big Book was published in 1939. The Living Sober text was written by Barry L. an AA member who joined AA in the mid-1940’s.

The book is a bit outdated in some of the wording and situation as you can imagine, but it still provides many pertinent suggestions for living a sober life, whether you are just starting out or have some time under  your belt.

There are 30 chapters in the book dedicated to the many ways that we stay sober. I…

View original post 1,101 more words

“Leopards never change their spots.”

Once upon a time there was a leopard. He was crafty and handsome, and he loved the spots on his soft coat. They made him feel better about, well, everything.
One day, after many years of increasing troubles and pain, the leopard had a moment of clarity. “These spots of mine, as much as I’ve loved having them, have been the cause of so much heartache and grief. My wife hates them. My children hate them. They really haven’t been making me feel better for a very long time. I’ve got to change them!”
So, the leopard found a group of others like him and asked them, “What must I do to relieve this guilt and remorse?!” They told him of a place where he would learn to feel better without relying on his spots, and he realised that he didn’t want them anymore. He decided to change his spots by following a few suggestions and taking some steps. These steps lead into a place so wonderful that he could never have imagined it!! And so, the leopard with the changed spots, lived happily ever after, one day at a time.

Ok. So this is what I want to share with my work associate.
She was talking about her ex, and his addictions. I said “It can be mighty hard for a leopard to change his spots.”
To which she replied, sadly and sincerely, “Leopards never change their spots.”

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Leopard spots

I’m not ready to share with her this story. I know that there are many many good people who feel the same wayabout addicts and alcoholics. I don’t hold it against them. It doesn’t make them bad people; just uninformed.

Someday…

Posted from my cabin in the mountains.

Sharing: An African-American Woman Reflects on the Transgender Movement

Yes, that just might be the longest post title I’ve used, yet. I had another subject in mind for this morning’s post, but then I read this.

Gender Identity Disorder. Is. A Thing. It’s got another name (for now), but the mental illness is the same. It’s insanity. I feel like our country is living in “The Emporer’s New Clothes”, and this is the best example of the child in the story stating what nobody else has the courage to say.
I’m not afraid of people with mental illness. Duh! I “identify” (see what I did there?) as a person with mental illness.
So, check it out & tell me what you think.

An African-American Woman Reflects on the Transgender Movement
Supporters of transgender ideology believe that they are freeing people from restrictive understandings of gender. In reality, the more our society tries to free itself from gender stereotypes, the more it becomes enslaved to them. By saying that people can be born in a body of the wrong gender, transgender activists are saying there is a set of feelings that are only allocated to women and another set for men.

My parents never bought Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, or Snow White. They weren’t stories told in our house or movies played on our TV. There was no Princess Tiana then, but my parents only showed us films with “colored” princesses: Mulan (Asian), Pocahontas (Native American), and Jasmine (Arab). We also loved the African animals ofThe Lion King. We never idealized whiteness in our house. None of this was done overtly, though it may have been intentional. Only in retrospect did I realize the kind of tacit self-love my parents were embedding in us.

Still, it wasn’t enough. Around the age of thirteen, I realized that the world was telling me that light skin and “good hair” were better, skinny was better, and whiteness was better. In fleeting moments, I wished I could be white. I begged my mom to straighten my hair, and she did. I went through sometimes unreasonable means to lose weight, and I tried to keep my somewhat light skin out of the sun.

If I had gone to my parents begging them to be white, I think they might have laughed, cried, comforted me, and worried what they did wrong as parents. But what if I had told them not only that I wanted to be white but that I actually was white? What if I had declared that the race of my body simply didn’t match that of my mind? I think they would’ve been deeply troubled.

The Bluest Eye

The famous Toni Morrison book, The Bluest Eye, parallels this idea. The main character, Pecola, is a dark-skinned girl who desperately wants blue eyes. By the end of the story, she has blue eyes—or at least, she believes that she does. We, as the readers, don’t applaud this. In fact, by the end of the novel, we think Pecola has lost her mind. We know that it’s not really blue eyes she wants, she wants something much deeper  
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An African-American Woman Reflects on the Transgender Movement

by  Nuriddeen Knight
within Bioethics, Culture, Sexuality

 

June 4th, 2015

 

 125K  3157  129K

Supporters of transgender ideology believe that they are freeing people from restrictive understandings of gender. In reality, the more our society tries to free itself from gender stereotypes, the more it becomes enslaved to them. By saying that people can be born in a body of the wrong gender, transgender activists are saying there is a set of feelings that are only allocated to women and another set for men.

My parents never bought Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, or Snow White. They weren’t stories told in our house or movies played on our TV. There was no Princess Tiana then, but my parents only showed us films with “colored” princesses: Mulan (Asian), Pocahontas (Native American), and Jasmine (Arab). We also loved the African animals ofThe Lion King. We never idealized whiteness in our house. None of this was done overtly, though it may have been intentional. Only in retrospect did I realize the kind of tacit self-love my parents were embedding in us.

Still, it wasn’t enough. Around the age of thirteen, I realized that the world was telling me that light skin and “good hair” were better, skinny was better, and whiteness was better. In fleeting moments, I wished I could be white. I begged my mom to straighten my hair, and she did. I went through sometimes unreasonable means to lose weight, and I tried to keep my somewhat light skin out of the sun.

If I had gone to my parents begging them to be white, I think they might have laughed, cried, comforted me, and worried what they did wrong as parents. But what if I had told them not only that I wanted to be white but that I actually was white? What if I had declared that the race of my body simply didn’t match that of my mind? I think they would’ve been deeply troubled.

The Bluest Eye

The famous Toni Morrison book, The Bluest Eye, parallels this idea. The main character, Pecola, is a dark-skinned girl who desperately wants blue eyes. By the end of the story, she has blue eyes—or at least, she believes that she does. We, as the readers, don’t applaud this. In fact, by the end of the novel, we think Pecola has lost her mind. We know that it’s not really blue eyes she wants, she wants something much deeper—love, acceptance, respect, honor . . . the intangible human desires we all crave but are not equally given. We know that she has not received this, but instead is a victim of perpetual abuse, and there is no easy solution to her problems.

But what if it were really possible for me to become white or for Pecola to acquire blue eyes? Would that be the end of the story—the happily ever after? Would changing our physical appearance magically erase all our issues of self-esteem and self-worth?

No, of course not. The eyes and the skin color were never the problem: racism and abuse were. We would only be putting a Band-Aid on the real issue. The many men and women who “passed” as white during America’s shameful Jim Crow era may have gained the social privileges bestowed by being white, but they also lost their heritage, their family ties, and their integrity, thanks to the lie they were forced to tell every single day.

Race, Sex, and Gender

But what if, instead of wanting to be white, I wanted to be a man? What if, instead of crying to my parents that I was really a white person, I told them that I was really a man and that I desperately wanted to change my body to match my mind? If, in this scenario, you think that my parents should applaud my courage, accept my new gender identity, and run to the nearest surgeon, please ask yourself: “Why?”

There’s no doubt that race and sex are two very different issues. Race is a social construct invented during the era of slavery. Before the European enslavement of Africans, there were no united “black people” in Africa, and there were no united “white people” in Europe. Thanks to slavery, the labels of black and white became a convenient way to continue oppression, but they are a relatively new way of identifying one’s self.

But sex is not a human invention. Yes, gender roles are culturally created. Still, that does not erase the fact that every human being (except intersex individuals, who represent a tiny percentage) is born with a distinctive set of physical and biological attributes that constitute them as male or female. That is a truth that cannot be erased with time.

Self-Love as a Virtue

When we want to be something other than our true authentic selves, that is self-hate. A black person who wants to be white is practicing self-hate, and so is a man who wants to be a woman or a woman who wants to be a man. We live in a climate of incredible self-absorption, but we won’t encourage people to love the body they’re in? We tell women to love their curves and love their age and love the skin they’re in but we won’t tell them (and men) to love the sex of their bodies?

We cry out about the horrors of female genital mutilation, yet we allow the practice in our backyard. We ignore the cries of patients who wake up from surgery full of remorse. We ignore their suffering and delude them with the promise of quick fixes and instant happiness. At The Federalist, Stella Morabito quotes a man who, upon waking up from his surgery thought, “What have I done? What on earth have I done?”

Eerily, in his Vanity Fair interview, Jenner echoes this man as he recalls his own thoughts after his ten-hour face feminization surgery: “What did I just do? What did I just do to myself?” Another post-op patient says in an online forum, “I am grieving at how I have mutilated my body.” Here at Public Discourse, Walt Heyer has written about the regret he experienced after his sex-change surgery.

We are playing a dangerous game. A man or a boy whose penis has been surgically removed can’t go back in time and return to his God-given nature. What if we spent the money we spend on surgery and drugs on therapy and learning self-love? We should be teaching a message of self-acceptance instead of buying into the latest surgeries or believing we’re born in the wrong body.

The Slavery of Freedom

Paradoxically, the more our society tries to free itself from gender stereotypes, the more it becomes enslaved to them. By saying that people can be born in a body of the wrong gender, transgender activists are saying there is a set of feelings that are only allocated to women and another set for men. Therefore, they believe, those who feel things that do not conform to their sex’s acceptable set of feelings must outwardly change their gender to match their mind.

Why are we colluding with narrow ideas of femininity or masculinity? What does it mean to “feel” like a woman? Should we question that idea as much as we have questioned ideas of a “woman’s place” or a “man’s role”? When did we come to accept the idea of “gendered thoughts” or “gendered feelings”?

As a linguistic student of Arabic, I recently learned that women and men are not opposite so much as they are complementary. The idea that one could feel opposite from one’s biological gender is actually nonsensical, linguistically and in reality. Men and women are different, but not so categorically that one can feel as though he or she were the other. We are full human beings, free to think as we wish without questioning our authenticity as men or as women.

“Bruce lives a lie. She is not a lie,” says Bruce Jenner in his interview with Diane Sawyer. Bruce, now Caitlyn, Jenner, told Sawyer that he has a “soul of a woman,” that he spent his life “running away from who I was.” At the time of that interview, Jenner’s voice and appearance are strikingly different from what they have been in the past, but not drastically enough to give the illusion of being female. Admittedly, Jenner looks much more feminine on the cover of Vanity Fair. Still, if he chooses to go through gender “reassignment” surgery, he will not become a woman but merely an illusion of one. As Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital, has written, “‘Sex change’ is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women.”

People opposed to the transgender movement are often accused of being bigots. In truth, I—like many others—harbor no hate for people who suffer from gender identity disorder. Rather, I feel deep compassion and concern for them in their suffering. As someone in the field of psychology, I hope we can one day find a more holistic, less invasive means to treat this disorder. However, I will concede that I find something quite insulting about the entire phenomenon. It is an insult to the other sex to think that by “dressing like them,” “talking like them,” or claiming to “feel like them,” you can therefore bethem. Being a man is about more than wearing a suit, and being a woman is about more than putting on makeup. If we feel confined in our bodies, perhaps it is not our bodies we should try to correct but our spirits we should reconnect with.

Nuriddeen Knight is an alumna of Teachers College, Columbia University, where she earned an MA in psychology with a focus on the child and the family.

An African-American Woman Reflects on the Transgender Movement

Posted from my cabin in the mountains.