Friday, April 20, 2007
Thanks for your comments and thoughts about my dog. The good news is that none of the tests revealed any tumors or blockages. She has a very inflamed stomach, severe gastroenteritis, and is on several new medications. She is still depressed but hopefully the medication will help her to feel better. I was relieved to get this news as this condition can be treated. My dogs are much loved and are like the kids I never had.
I hardly ever watch any television anymore. It's as if my attention can't be focused on a talking head for very long. Oh I'll watch the news for a while but mostly I just read the paper and books. Anyway, I watched the HBO documentary on Addiction. I had heard some people talking about it before it aired and decided that it might be worth watching. It is generally well done and does have a lot of medical information and provides insight into the disease of addiction. There were several points that were made that I found interesting:
1. A comment made by one of the MD's at the Medical University of South Carolina was interesting. She stated that the idea that someone had to hit rock bottom before they would get into recovery was not true. In fact, the sooner that someone could get into treatment, the better that they would be. The reality is that everyone is different — there is no predicting what will impel someone to seek treatment.
2. Thankfully, addiction is discussed as a medical, not moral, condition afflicting brains which have ceased to function correctly. Current research indicates that repeated use of drugs and alcohol alters the way the brain works. These alterations can now be observed and described in precise detail. It was interesting to see an MRI of the brain of someone who was actively using and someone who wasn't.
I didn't hear but a couple of references to AA and don't recall any to Al-Anon. The program stressed the medical side of things. I understand the medical side but think that recovery is dependent on something other than pills and role playing. The importance of the fellowship, the spiritual aspect, and all that the programs embody seem to me to be more helpful than any therapist ever was.
One of the things that seems to come through to me is that there is something very special about the fellowship of the 12 step programs when compared to other kinds of therapy. I am thinking more and more about how I want to be involved in service work when I've completed the steps. I've always liked helping others but now there is a real compulsion for me to do so. Thinking about the rampage of a murderer at Va. Tech. reminds me that the killer was someone's child, had aspirations, had dreams and somehow all those things became channeled into a sickness and a rage that was all consuming. It makes me think that each of us needs to reach out a hand.
It seems to follow that when I have a problem, I can go to a meeting or talk to others and come away with much less of a problem and much more of a solution. Just by realizing that I don't have the answers but others do makes the fellowship a powerful thing. Similarly, when I see someone who is new and sits in the back, I go forward now and introduce myself and make an overture to the other person. Whether at meetings or just in life maybe we all need to be more aware, watch out for each other in a caring way, and not be afraid to reach out for help. For me, I know that working with others will be a major part of my recovery and growth as a person.