Paralyzed No More

The world of addiction holds so much anguish.
I believe it’s so important to share the promise and hope of Recovery as well. When our son became addicted in 2006, the brain science of addiction was not a public knowledge.  Today, the brain science is clear, which is causing treatments to evolve. 

Four weeks ago, I was driving our son to a long-term rehab/sober living specifically geared for chronic relapsers. Eleven years of addiction had taken a toll. His gaunt body and the sadness and weeping showed his complete hopelessness. Through his tears he said, “Mom, I know this sounds bad, but I almost think it would be easier to die than to keep trying. I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but I always fail.” 
This was my response: 
“I want to tell you about my Aunt Martha. She was my mother’s only sister and I’m named after her. My mother and aunt had more opportunity than most women in the 50’s could dream to have- they were both beautiful and very popular- my aunt was the head of everything- a picture of her jumping as the head cheerleader was the front cover of their senior yearbook. She was smart, had the opportunity to go to college- every opportunity for a full and amazing life was literally at her feet. One month before the polio vaccine became available in 1954, my aunt contracted polio and became paralyzed from the waist down. She spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair. It didn’t stop her from living life- but what a difference just one month could have made for her life. One month!  When I searched for treatment for you when you became addicted in college, 11 years ago, it was like searching for a needle in a haystack- I was asked if I could pay cash for the rehab, then I was promptly hung up on when I said I didn’t know, it depended on the cost. You became addicted at a very transitional period in history- addiction treatment is evolving as the science of addiction is getting clearer. Just as with every disease, treatment evolves and we have to hang on to the fact that the brain science of addiction is still evolving.  The evolution of treatment in light of the new information is changing the way addiction is treated in many ways. I realize it may feel like you’ve personally failed- which, on some fronts, you have, but just like any illness, you, me and dad have to keep learning the disease, keep seeking the new treatments that become available in light of the new knowledge about the disease. Sadly, you became addicted when the brain science wasn’t publicly there- but now it is, and treatments that provide a better opportunity for sustainable recovery are here- they are few, but they’re starting to take root. It’s your responsibility to continue to seek treatment for your illness- and dad and I told you as long as you are moving forward in Recovery, we will always be willing to partner with you to seek out treatment options. Think about it- what if no one would have pursued the vaccine for polio? And worse, what if no one would have been willing to try the polio vaccine?
You’ve never done long-term treatment- it wasn’t even available when you first went to rehab!  This is a far cry from the first rehab you went to where it was basically a lick and a promise. Go- and give it everything you’ve got. Sometimes, it’s not about a personal failure on your part, but about the development of the knowledge and treatment of a disease. If a polio treatment would have come available for my aunt, she would have crawled with just her upper body to get the chance to not be paralyzed. There’s no reason for you to be paralyzed the rest of your life.” 

I always say, and I firmly believe that knowledge is power. Please don’t stop searching and learning and growing forward!

By | 2017-10-04T11:19:03-05:00 October 4th, 2017|Blogs|Comments Off on Paralyzed No More