Published Wednesday, May 17, 2006 by James W Breckenridge.
You see, but you do not observe ...
I was at an organization that shall remain nameless, let us call them SA for convenience. I was planning to attend an al-anon function (through the generosity of fellow members) celebrating 55 years of good work. So I sought out a washer and dryer so that in return for their thoughtfulness, I too would be thoughtful and have clean, sweet smelling garments. I turned on the washer and asked for the gift of laundry detergent. I was handed a sandwich sized baggy cantaining a mysterious white powder.
I have no doubt that if many of the writers of 'letters to the editor' and their like minded citizens had seen this exchange they would wrap themselves in self-righteousness braying "see, I told you they were all druggies!". What then when I poured this white powder (laundry soap) into the4 washer? Well, heads into the sand with the other 'Spuds' lest they see something that disproves theiir vision of reality.
Me, I just poured thje soap into the washer and looked forward to tomorrow. After all in its 55 years Al-anon has helped many of us acheive a clear veiw of reality.
Published Tuesday, May 02, 2006 by James W Breckenridge.
Ready vs. Not Ready
Ready? Not Ready? For what? To make a change, to embrace making the change with all your heart and mind, since if you are not totally committed to making the change you will fail. This is why the experts say not to make New Year’s resolutions and expect to turn over a new leaf on January 1st. Rather, they say, you should begin whatever it is you want to do when you are mentally ready to change your behaviour and work hard to achieve your goals. Why is this important to realize and take into consideration? Because it is as true for an addiction as it is for starting an exercise program or quitting smoking. It is why it is so crucial to have the facilities (detox, treatment or recovery) available RIGHT THEN, at the point in time when the addict is ready to change from addiction to recovery.
I grew up in an addiction (alcoholic) household which resulted in me having ways of thinking and acting that are the same as if I had and addiction myself. In dealing with these bad mental habits I have learned just how powerful a disease it is. To me it is a disease since it can be passed to others even if they have no addictions. As someone said to me “It is a disease all right, with its own special brand of insanity. Who would choose to live life in the manner of an addict if they were sane.”
Life experience has given me an appreciation of just how powerful addiction is. Empathy and sympathy mean that instead of running you maintain friendships and acquaintances over time, seeing what is happening in people’s lives as a result of their addiction. It is also what causes anger at the lack of resources. You watch someone destroying themselves until they reach a point they can and are ready to make a choice, a choice only they can make for themselves. They reach a point where they want to get out of the cycle of addiction, begin to recover and get on with living. They choose to seek and except help. If they are lucky, there is a spot open and they begin their journey of recovery. To often they are scheduled for a ‘spot’ not available for a week or two weeks. You see them on the day they were scheduled to enter treatment … and they are high and totally in thrall to their addiction again. Any help for this person will have to wait until they themselves cycle to a point they are ready to make a choice and commit to the hard work of recovery.
Addiction is not like cosmetic surgery where one can schedule the procedure when convenient and surgeon and facilities are available. Addiction is more akin to the deadly bacterial infection I picked up at the end of January. In order to survive and live I needed to begin antibiotics immediately. Fortunately the resources for me to live and recover from the bacterial infection were available immediately. This is why facilities and resources need to be available – NOW. If this does not result the most efficient scheduling and use of facilities … to bad, we are talking about saving lives – NOW.