The 600 guests at the April 22nd Nexus Spring Luncheon at the Anatole were divided into two camps. You either loved it or you were in a state of shock and grateful that Gail Turner was not present. But more about that later.
It was due to Co-chairs Robin Bagwell‘s and Jan Osborn‘s speaker Kristen Johnston. Like many addicts, she was totally appealing with her tools of humor and hugs. But also like a drug/alcohol addict, she was upsetting and shocking in her life as an addict.
The good news was that she’s been sober for six years and written a book about her abuse — “Guts.” Trust us when we say that this book is not standard reading fare for the Dallas Woman’s Club or a grade school read-a-thon. But it was unfortunately appropriate for the very ugly reality of an addict’s love life with the love of their lives especially opiates.
Yes, the “F” word peppered the reading. One person counted more than 20 times. But the beneficiaries of the Nexus Recovery Center were not SMU co-eds or Junior Leaguers. They were girls and women who had been raised in homes where the “F-word” was more commonplace than “How are you?”
Was Kristen’s talk upsetting and shocking? Yes, absolutely. Is drug addiction and its contagious sweep through this country upsetting and shocking? Unfortunately, yes.
Perhaps that’s why the talk was uncomfortably appropriate.
Hindsight suggests that Kristen’s reading from her book, “Guts,” was well done, but went on longer than necessary. It might have benefited book sales and her impact if she had cut the reading to half the time and just talked with the members of the audience with the same honesty as she did Sunday with residents of Nexus.
Didn’t matter. The message was still impactful and disturbing. Time and time again, she apologized for the details of her near-death-experience. After all, we’re talking about lunch time and guts exploding.
As for Gail Turner, she is well known for not . . . shall we say, feeling comfortable when bawdy language enters a conversation. And she’s absolutely right. But she would also be on the front line to “damn” the damage that has resulted from drug and alcohol abuse.
And that’s why such people as Micki Rawlings, Ashlee Kleinert, Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Yvonne Crum, Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Katie Pedigo, Linda and Steve Ivy, Norm Bagwell, Scott Osborn, Amara Durham, Gina Miller, Betsy Chambers and others stayed put. They realized that as painful as the story of drug/alcohol abuse is, the problem must be addressed and resolved.