La Hacienda's Treatment and Recovery Blog

Chris Raymer with Issue Man drawing

The Issue Man Mystery

By Chris Raymer, Recovery Community Director

Photo: Chris and one of the Issue Man drawings that hang on his office wall.

When I was working at La Hacienda back in the ’90s and ’00s, I started drawing Issue Man on the Bodega whiteboard to try and make clear what substance use disorder is.

He’s a simple circle and stick figure with a dark spot on his chest that represents the disease. X’s around him represent our Issues – relationships, money, health, kids, jobs, etc.  (To be inclusive, I also draw an Issue Woman.)

We have to see that alcoholism is separate from those issues. We gotta deal with all those Issues. Good therapy can change us, but we have also to seek the Spiritual Solution that the 12 Steps bring about. Gotta do both if we are going to stay sober.

Issue Man Framed

Around 2005, a nice lady drew five “Issue Man” pictures for me. They are about eight by ten inches each. I had them framed, and they hung in my office here until I left for new adventures.

I took the drawings home, and they were in a closet until I returned to La Hacienda in December. I got me a new office, and out of the closet they came!

There’s a partial signature on one of them, but I can’t read it. I just can’t remember who drew them.

Come by and see them when you’re here for Reunion the first weekend in May. They are pretty funny! Maybe someone can help me remember who is the artist.

And if you figure it out in the meantime, send me an email at [email protected].

Chris will be speaking in coming weeks to four La Hacienda alumni groups: Wednesday, April 10, in Austin; Thursday, April 11 in College Station; Tuesday, April 16, in Dallas; and Wednesday, April 17, in Tyler. These and other upcoming speaking engagements are listed on our website.