Editor: I am very interested in the topic being discussed recently about addictions and the addiction center in Mt. Herbert. I would like to state, first and foremost, that what I write is only my opinion.
I, myself, have been in recovery for almost 18 years, so I do understand the struggle to disentangle oneself and to stay free of the physical, mental and spiritual disease of addiction.
Having close contact with others who are, unfortunately, still living with and dying from this debilitating disease, I have suggested, on occasion, that, perhaps they should try going to detox. I have heard several reasons, many times, as to why they choose not to go. One, is that there is a wait for a bed, two, is that they are not allowed to see family or visitors while they are in there, and three, the biggest for the smokers, is that there is no smoking allowed while a client in the center. It seems that, while they are willing to deal with letting go of one crutch, they are fearful of giving up both at the same time.
When I entered sobriety, it was strongly suggested, “You only work on one addiction at a time.” I tend to agree with this advice. I needed to focus on one addiction in order to “do the dues” required to find healthy recovery. It took a lot more “focus” in the beginning, as I had no real understanding as to what was going on with me and I was very sick, mentally and emotionally.
Also, I can see for myself, what appears to be a double standard at the Mt. Herbert center. While the clients stay inside and struggle to deal with not using and not smoking, or just staying away from the center altogether, there is a cozy little set up out under the trees, on the property, complete with blue milk crates to sit on, where staff go to enjoy their own nicotine addiction. They sit in plain sight, close to the road, almost flaunting the fact that what is good for the goose, does not apply to the gander. Taxpayers are driving by...taxpayers who have people in their families, struggling with addiction who perhaps cannot see themselves going into detox to “suffer” the withdrawals from two addictions at once.
Don’t get me wrong I am not a smoker, not even a reformed smoker and having watched both parents succumb to the disease of lung cancer from that very habit; I am the last person to promote the use of tobacco. But, I was also taught, in recovery, that one cannot “make” someone give up anything. One must be ready within themselves, to change in order to deal with any addiction. It cannot be forced.
I, myself, have never been in detox as a client, though I did spend 21 years of misery in my active addiction. However, I do believe when a person is ready, he or she can recover -whether it be at home, in hospital, or at a detox center; whether it be alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, food or whatever one is addicted to. Some people rely heavily on “the detox” to “get them sober”. When relapse occurs, it is believed that, once again they must return to the center.
This develops a dependency on going into the center after each relapse occurs and individuals are admitted over and over again, with no changes made by the client being admitted. The truth is the only one who can keep you sober is you! For myself, I have discovered a Power within that I tap into to help me stay sober. We may need outside help to get our heads out of the toilet and our feet back under us, but the millions who use this internal help to stay straight cannot be wrong. My belief is that each of us has that Power. May you find Him now.
Mount Stewart RR 3