You might be aware -- especially if, like me, your family is Irish and ostensibly Catholic -- of an unspoken rule. Your favorite aunt, the one who always shows up to Christmas dinner with a lazy grin and the smell of Chanel No. 5 and mouth wash... Well, the rule is -- and you never discussed this exactly, but you know what I mean -- you never mention the fact that Aunt (add name here) likes a drink. Or ten.
And partly because of this rule, though most people know that addiction is a genetic disease, it retains its aura of quiet shame and imminent scandal.
When someone can look you in the eye and tell you flatly that they've struggled with addiction, it is arresting. Because that takes courage.
Vendor of the Week Chad Tudor has been straight and sober for 16 months.
Born and raised in Olympia, Tudor was 18 when he got his high school equivalency and headed for Alaska, where he worked shore-side on a commercial fish-gutting line. He did that for a couple years but quit in order to earn his degree in computer programming at the University of Alaska.
He made it about halfway through the degree, too. But Tudor's drug addiction brought him money and law trouble, and before long he found himself broke, camping in the woods near Evergreen State College.
About a year ago, Olympia vendor Pam Packard introduced him to Real Change. Engaging with the public on a daily basis, Tudor says, has helped him stay sober. And that dialogue has also allowed Tudor to connect with quite a few folks -- Tudor now works closely with Olympia-area nonprofits and farmland activists.
"Thank you for taking a stand for social change," he tells his customers. "Together we can make a difference."
You can find him at the Eastside Olympia Co-op.