Contributing writers share their thoughts and inspirations.
There is nothing digestible or tolerable about discovering that your child is in the throes of drug and alcohol addiction. One of the first things you may notice is how outsiders marginalize you and reject the medical “brain science” of addiction. A strong belief exists that substance abuse is a moral or behavioral issue and a sure sign of weakness in you, your family, and your child. Whatever your personal “take” on addiction, it’s not until the monster invades your own home that you come face to face with the risks and chaos that define the lives of families battling [...]
Addiction is progressive and chronic. In the process, the addicted individual becomes detached from those he or she loves and the activities that used to bring joy. He loses a connection to the world around him. He or she eventually becomes isolated from life. As the parent of an addicted person, can you identify a similar trend in your own life? Has your child’s addiction resulted in a decline of outings with your friends or less participation in those special activities that used to bring you joy? Have you closed your curtains, locked the door, and crawled under the covers? [...]
I am not talking about Nancy Reagan's 1980's failed campaign to discourage our kids from drinking and taking drugs. That wasteful and misguided approach had the unintended effect of reinforcing the stigma that addiction and alcoholism are character traits, poor choices and moral failings, and not, as the medical profession had even then long recognized, but never (even to date, in my view) widely embraced, a chronic brain disease--"no-fault" mental illness. Okay, so we didn't cause our kid’s disease, can't control it and can't cure it. The "Three C's" of Al-Anon, a fellowship that has helped millions affected by their [...]
About a hundred people went to an eye-opening event last night hosted by Mary Nixon at the New Leaf Club in Rosemont. Addressing the apparent ambivalence regarding society’s near passive reaction to thousands of sick people dying each year from the epidemic of heroin, Judge Steven O’Neill from the Montgomery County Drug Treatment Court started his presentation by quoting Joseph Stalin (of all people): ‘The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.’ Not a single person in that big room failed to understand his point. As a society, we seem to have become [...]
I was deeply saddened to learn of Philip Seymour Hoffman's tragic and untimely death today. In an interview a few hours ago, I heard someone from the film industry comment that "he had his demons." I wish we could move away from that sort of language. In my opinion, Mr. Hoffman did not have "demons." He died as a result of the disease of addiction, which is recognized as "a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry." If someone is diagnosed with a brain tumor, and the complications of that disease tragically take that person's life, there is [...]