I’ve waited a couple of weeks expecting some comments in this forum on the Oct. 27th editorial supporting the recent smoking ban at the Mt. Herbert Addictions Centre. I’ll be brief.
Your editorial suggests that the “smoking ban is a logical and defensible policy.” That may be so for some, but I see serious flaws; I’ve been there.
First, let me state clearly that my views are not necessarily those of AA but are mine alone, acquired from first-hand experience. There’s an old saying often used when referring to someone who is attempting too much: “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” With all due respect, I feel that Health P.E.I. is being heartless and unreasonable in expecting clients to quit smoking concurrently with their alcohol cessation.
Over 40 years ago I was able, with much difficulty, to conquer my two-pack-a day smoking addiction. In 1999, I bit the bullet, entered detox, and embarked on a recovery program to treat my alcoholism. It was one of the greatest decisions I ever made but I seriously doubt I would have been able to persevere had I been forced to quit smoking at the same time.
Margaret Kennedy, director of mental health and addictions, is quoted as follows: “It really doesn’t make sense to enable one addiction when we’re trying to treat people for another addiction.” As one who has fought both addictions, I contend that the probability of success is jeopardized if we insist on treating both addictions simultaneously. The will to fight any addiction must come from within so if a client is really trying to stop drinking, he or she should not be challenged further by forcing them to quit smoking at the same time.
Although I fully appreciate the health and related problems associated with smoking, I sincerely feel that during alcohol detox and rehabilitation the smoking problem should not be allowed to muddy the alcoholism waters.
St. Patrick’s Road