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Substance Abuse


Jeff F.

​“I had my last drink of alcohol in July of 2004. In the 18 months preceding that, I had been actively seeking treatment for my alcoholism. I knew that AA involved praying, God, smoking, talking at length about oneself, and people I wasn’t sure I wanted to be around. It also seemed to me that if alcoholism was indeed a disease, then I’d be better off seeking help from the medical community. While I was still able (meaning, before I lost my job and my health insurance due to my drinking), I went to pretty much every variety of health-care person that was accessible to me. Essentially, they all shook their heads, shrugged, and said “Stop drinking, go to AA”, and indicated that the visit was over.  And no mention whatsoever of cognitive behavioral therapy, Vivitrol, contingency management, baclofen — not even Antabuse. A little baffled, I shrugged and began to attend AA meetings. Their effect on me and my emotional state with respect to my drinking ranged from none at all, to a marked increase in the depth and degree of my despair. After months of attending AA meetings, stopping drinking entirely still didn’t seem and had never seemed a reasonable or realistic option. Finally, I agreed to enter a “treatment center”, it being obvious to me at the time that AA wasn’t “working”, and that I needed “treatment”, not AA. I then discovered what a “treatment center” really was — a place where they throw you in with a dozen or so other nitwits and shove AA down your throat. After surviving 30 days at to what I came to refer as “jail lite”, I left, and six weeks later I was drinking again, with increased fervor and urgency. At that point, with my job and health insurance long gone, the question of whether I could find “medical treatment” for my “disease” was rendered academic. The only treatment for my alcoholism, I felt, was more alcohol, and I nearly died. After a period of some months, I found myself in another “jail lite” facility. Again, AA was force-fed. Nowhere was there any mention of anything that appeared might help me recover what I had lost. I spent the first few months of my “recovery” waiting to die.   I can’t explain how it came to pass that I’m sitting here typing this today. My best guess is that I’m simply lucky. I do still attend a couple AA meetings a week, and as much as I would love to profess that “the Program” is the reason I’m sober, it would be a half-truth at best. Again, I can’t explain why, but at some point I simply decided that I had had it with the whole business — that enough was simply enough.”

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