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The Worst Illness of All

Old 06-10-2017, 03:10 PM
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The Worst Illness of All

The Worst Illness of All
Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. Partly genetic. But there is a voluntary element. And over time it becomes largely involuntary. The AV rages within. We drink to forestall the fearful and life threatening risks of withdrawal. And, drinking, we stand to lose all: our families, jobs, homes, freedom, possessions and, ultimately, our lives. A few escape and manage to take the long road back. Like some brutalized battalion, staggering back from the carnage of ravaged trenches.
Traditionally society stands by and judgmentally says, “He/she get what they deserve. Just a bunch of drunks!”
The nation’s number one health problem. Yet there are those who say, “Just put them in jail. They’re better off there and everyone else is better off too!” Increasing suicides. Self inflicted or from overdose. Should graveyards become our growth industry?
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Old 06-10-2017, 03:19 PM
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I find this post extremely relevant. The fact that people opt for jailtime instead of treatment is deplorable. If you commit a crime, okay, not everything is excusable by saying I'm an alcoholic I couldn't stop. But this disease literally destroys our bodies, and instead of funding adequate rehab facilities, many lawmakers want to punish rather than help people facing this become self-sufficient, contributing members of society. It's one of the few diseases that people accept the stigma and derision. More awareness is so badly needed. Some places treat it as a moral flaw... It's so much more than that.
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Old 06-10-2017, 03:36 PM
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Alcoholism/addiction is the only illness you can get yelled at for having. I am still optimistic that eventually these things will be treated and discussed in a grown up way but it is taking much longer than I had hoped. I suppose that as a recovering alcoholic I should get involved in trying to improve things if I want them to change.
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Old 06-10-2017, 04:54 PM
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P.S. Maybe alcoholics "experiment" with seek self medication by playing Russian Roulette.

W.
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Old 06-10-2017, 06:35 PM
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hi VN,
you talk about people opting for jail instead of treatment, and that it is deplorable.

i wonder how frequent that is, and why would someone prefer jail to treatment?
hm.....trying to put myself in that situation, why might i choose jail over treatment??
because it doesn't expect i want to quit? because it's a shorter time period? because nothing is expected of me in jail?

i mean: how desperate would you need to be to take jail over treatment?
and desperate for what?

but oddly, i can " get it" ......anyway, does anyone know if that's common?
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Old 06-10-2017, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by fini View Post
hi VN,
you talk about people opting for jail instead of treatment, and that it is deplorable.

i wonder how frequent that is, and why would someone prefer jail to treatment?
hm.....trying to put myself in that situation, why might i choose jail over treatment??
because it doesn't expect i want to quit? because it's a shorter time period? because nothing is expected of me in jail?

i mean: how desperate would you need to be to take jail over treatment?
and desperate for what?

but oddly, i can " get it" ......anyway, does anyone know if that's common?
I don't think that's what VN meant. He was referring, as I was, to policy makers, legislators, judges, etc. saying, "Don't treat them! Put them in jail. That's the best for everyone!" That is what is "deplorable". Clearly very few, if any, alcoholics or substance abusers would opt for jail rather than treatment.

W.
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:26 PM
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"Society" will most likely never embrace the outlier, I think that's why I appreciate the recovery community and places like SR even more.
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottFromWI View Post
"Society" will most likely never embrace the outlier, I think that's why I appreciate the recovery community and places like SR even more.
Hopefully"society" can change. There was a time when we burned witches, heretics. The days in which we live may not seem propitious for optimism and yet it would be sad to lose faith in all humanity. I also greatly appreciate the community and support of those who suffer. And I shall always be grateful to them.

W.
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:43 PM
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I am, factually one of those few who has crawled back from that ending life abyss. And that I had so little control over what I did or who I even was in that dark place- scares the crap outta me. Thanks.
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Old 06-11-2017, 02:57 AM
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Originally Posted by PhoenixJ View Post
I am, factually one of those few who has crawled back from that ending life abyss. And that I had so little control over what I did or who I even was in that dark place- scares the crap outta me. Thanks.
The ultimate fear- having no control over what you do, what you are and no memory of what you have done. A loss of "self". The end result of an horrendous Faustian sale of oneself into alcoholic slavery. The amazing thing is that anyone manages to return!

W.
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Old 06-11-2017, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by wpainterw View Post
The Worst Illness of All
Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. Partly genetic. But there is a voluntary element. And over time it becomes largely involuntary. The AV rages within. We drink to forestall the fearful and life threatening risks of withdrawal. And, drinking, we stand to lose all: our families, jobs, homes, freedom, possessions and, ultimately, our lives. A few escape and manage to take the long road back. Like some brutalized battalion, staggering back from the carnage of ravaged trenches.
Traditionally society stands by and judgmentally says, “He/she get what they deserve. Just a bunch of drunks!”
The nation’s number one health problem. Yet there are those who say, “Just put them in jail. They’re better off there and everyone else is better off too!” Increasing suicides. Self inflicted or from overdose. Should graveyards become our growth industry?
No. That should be the last "resort" and ultimately ruinous "option."

Recovery should be the growth industry. Getting everyone to the point of a better, healthy, sober life should be the goal. Personally, my alcoholism is the best thing that happened to me (para BB 4th ed p 418) and the path of the warrior - the sober one who gives back - is my chosen industry. Whatever combination genes and environment and choice add up to - I believe all are the case in my disease- I can still change the end result, with help.

I read doom and gloom- and self-pity- in your post....that kind of thinking simply can't be in my repertoire. Failure at this is not an option.
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Old 06-11-2017, 06:03 AM
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August wrote: "I read doom and gloom-and self pity-in your post"

I guess the irony escaped you. Why should I have self pity. I've had 29 years of sobriety which has made me the happiest I have ever been! I have spent the last ten of these years trying to help people and hopefully have been of some assistance in dealing with this terrible situation. But I doubt that anyone can quarrel with the statement that for more than sixty years the drug problem has grown worse. Today it is often called an epidemic. Things were very, very different when I was a kid. I'm ninety now.
Obviously graveyards should not be a growth industry! And prisons, particularly privately owned, profit making prisons, should not be permitted. And corruption in prisons! Something can be done about it. A person broke into our house, tied up my wife and me and stole her engagement ring. I learned that he had been in state prison for ten years and had maintained his heroin habit the whole time, no doubt with the connivance of some of the prison guards. He's back, serving more than 50 years. Far from being gloomy, I say we must fight for what is right and you are doing that. Good for you! I applaud what you are doing and have joined in that fight. That is the purpose of this post and of all that I do on SR. I thank God for bringing me back.

W.
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Old 06-11-2017, 06:07 AM
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We're powerless over more than just our addiction. We're powerless over what other people do. Pure genius to have "grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change" first ~ there's a lot more of them than things we can change.

I didn't find doom & gloom in the post, just sadness. When you get clean & sober and stick around you watch a lot of people go in and out and never give themselves a break long enough to stay. it can be overwhelming, and it's not hard to look at the stigma that society places on addiction and sigh. You feel for those still trapped, not by society, but by the prisons in their own heads.

The good news is, while our disease is incurable, it is treatable and long term recovery is possible. We just have to give ourselves a break and persevere, even when we don't feel like it. We aren't responsible for our disease, but we are responsible for our recovery. No one else is responsible, not society, and not even other people in recovery (although they can help us if we accept it).

But I get it painter. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. Life is hard, and I constantly have to keep things in perspective and choose what I focus on. On a good day I keep my eyes on the miracles in my life and in those around me, and I smile.

Thanks for paving the way W.
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Old 06-11-2017, 06:45 AM
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I clearly missed the irony.

I also don't think that getting down about the prospects for recovery or societal acceptance (which has grown over the years, if not as fast or significantly as the problem) does any good.
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Old 06-11-2017, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by August252015 View Post
I clearly missed the irony.

I also don't think that getting down about the prospects for recovery or societal acceptance (which has grown over the years, if not as fast or significantly as the problem) does any good.
I certainly don't get "down" about the prospects for recovery. If I did I would not be doing what I've been doing for the past ten years! I get "down" about the consequences of not recovering. Or "down" about folks who still think that the only reason you drink is because you're "bad". Any alcoholic who has been in recovery for say 19 years and has been trying to help others recover does not get "down". For in the rooms and elsewhere I've seen so many happy faces. That's the way I want more people to be!
By the way, when Bill W and Dr. Bob got AA going Alcoholism was the major affliction. Now it's stuff like Fentanyl, imported from China, sold on internet "dark sites", paid for in Bitcoin and delivered by ordinary mail. See today's article in the N.Y. Times. This has led to an enormous increase in overdose deaths. Yes, I get "down" about that. And I get "down" about using prisons (particularly privately owned profit making prisons) as a solution, and I get "down" about prison correctional officer corruption, "down" about gang control of prisons, like Rikers Island.
I get "down" but I don't give up trying to make things better, or at least trying to keep them from getting worse. I can't just sit back and rely on the Serenity Prayer and say I can't change anything. We can change things if we get together, work together That's what this country is all about.
So good for you, August, for trying to help, doing what you do. Keep it up!

Bill.
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Old 06-11-2017, 08:53 AM
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WpainterW wrote:
"A few escape and manage to take the long road back. Like some brutalized battalion, staggering back from the carnage of ravaged trenches."
Hey, Bill! Isn't that a bit of an overstatement?
Well, I gotta admit you've got a point there! But still, it's a good line. May invoke that famous painting where the blinded, gassed Tommies are being led in single file with hands on each other's backs (WW1-but y'all too young to remember that!). When I was in a rehab 19 years ago a guy was brought in by his pals who had become a sort of walking drugstore, having taken all the possible pills he could find. He recounted how he had become completely paranoid , holed up in his apartment and got food sent in by a basket he hung on a rope out of his window. Round the clock panic attack. Said he had dreams about being sucked down into a bottomless black vortex. In a week or two he cheered up and got started on the long road back. That's something we all can do but we should not throw up our hands at influencing those who have a punitive attitude towards addiction.
Reasonably good thread, Bill. No one's perfect! My comments are kindly meant!

Bill (W.)
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Old 06-11-2017, 10:01 AM
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Not everyone believes it's an illness
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Old 06-11-2017, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by JamesfrmEngland View Post
Not everyone believes it's an illness
I agree. Not everyone believes that! That's what the thread says. The traditional view is that you drink because you're a bad person and you ought to be ashamed of doing that.


W.
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Old 06-11-2017, 12:46 PM
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We CAN and DO recover!
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Old 06-11-2017, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by FormerBeerLover View Post
We CAN and DO recover!
I completely agree. Not all of us make it back but many do. I've seen them and they've helped me so much. I owe them so much gratitude!

Bill
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