Monday, March 18, 2013
Yes, that's right. I'm reviewing addiction today, including addiction to alcohol also known as alcoholism. Because I feel like it, that's why. And because even though I've read a bunch of books since I last reviewed one, I'm too jazzed up to write about any of them.
I was thinking about Steubenville, teens partying in Steubenville, the sexual assaults in Steubenville on a teen who was characterized as being very drunk, passed out, or "dead."
Not every teen who gets into trouble at a party is an alcoholic or has an addiction problem. Not every teen who gets raped, even while highly intoxicated, is an alcoholic or has an addiction problem. The vast majority of teens don't. Some teens who drink and / or drug heavily will moderate as they get older. A very very few will be unable to moderate even after they get older.
I qualified as an "unable to." When I was raped, I was already in the throes of addiction. I had alcoholic blackouts [not remembering a period of time afterwards] regularly. I used until there was no more.
Do any of the teens in Steubenville qualify as an "unable to?" I don't know. I never met any of them. And I don't qualify to say. Maybe yes, maybe no, maybe maybe. The jury is still out on that one.
There are many lists around of how to tell if one is some kind of an addict-- gambling addict, sex addict, drug addict, alcoholic [addict], overeater, food addict, restricter, binger, co-dependent [addiction to people, supposedly], internet addict [more will be revealed], hoarder [a sort of addiction to junk or sometimes to animals], and so forth. If you think you have a problem, you might. Or you might not. Go find yourself one of the lists and answer the questions. Seek out a professional if you want to and are able to in order to discuss the results with someone who is objective and not screaming at you. Find a self-help group if that feels right to you. Find some other ways to take your life back if a self-help group does not feel right for you.
Yes, here in the U.S.A., twelve-step programs dominate the recovery landscape. Here is an incomplete list of other ways that people have used to stop addictive behavior: joining an ashram, Women for Sobriety, TOPS: Taking Off Pounds Sensibly, becoming religious and sticking with it, psychotherapy, Recovery Incorporated, continuing to be involved with Drug Court on a volunteer basis after completing Drug Court, Secular Sobriety [S.O.S. groups, or Save Our Selves], quitting cold turkey and never looking back. The purpose of this review is not to present stats on which way of doing it is best or worse. I'm just saying there are options.
Some people say that in order to recover, one must find a god or a higher power. That ain't necessarily so. When I stopped using, I was a believer. As the years passed, I lost my mysticism. And I don't want it back. There are people who manage to quit their addictions without any sort of diety. Not many perhaps, but yes we do exist.
Addiction is not freedom is an axiom that I believe. Here's another one that I also subscribe to: Recovery is not necessarily freedom either. If I want freedom, then I have to take on some responsibility. The bottom line is that my addiction is not to be used as an excuse for my bad behavior. My recovery is not to be used as an excuse for my bad behavior either. Thinking that I am too fragile to show up at work or keep my commitments or become a knowledgeable citizen of my community and the world is a sell-out. I did not come into recovery in order to remain trapped by my thinking and worldview. I stopped using and sought out something better because my thinking and my actions were screwed up.
We should never leave our brains at the door wherever we go. We need to think. One of the ways to get better at thinking is to think. My best thinking told me that what I was doing was not working. If I wanted something different, I had to do something different.
No matter where I go or who I am with, I pay attention. I have found that if I listen carefully, most people will tell me who they are. Do not assume that everyone sitting at that self-help group is okay or safe just because you are sitting in the same room. Ask the people who died on the airplanes on 9/11 whether or not they still believe that their fellow travelers are safe-- oh, wait. They are dead. Get the point? Trust has to be earned. I do not have to trust you just because you and I are on the same airplane together, in the same mall together, in the same park together, in the same room together.
If you are a teen, know that you are a carrier of the future. What you do today is important. Make today count. Because one of these days, us old folks won't be here anymore because we will be dead. If you are a teen and you are drinking and /or drugging, pay attention to what you are doing. If you find that you cannot moderate your useage of something or that you are having frequent blackouts or that you have a personality change when you are using, it might be worth a second look. Whether you are addicted or not, you are valuable. You are the future. I believe in you.
sapphoq reviews says: True addiction sucks. If you think you have an addiction problem, explore your options and get some help. And be careful out there. Not everyone has our best interests at heart. Be well.