Substance abuse and addiction should never be fought alone.
I’ve known a lot of folks to have brushes with abstinence and treatment. They see me a few times, hoping to find a way to control their drinking and are disheartened to hear me say that for many of us, there’s just no such thing. It’s all or nothing.
As the adage goes, “One is too many and a thousand is never enough.”
A colleague pointed me toward a story about Maine State Sen. David Dutremble resigning this morning and a quote from the senator jumped out at me:
“I thought this was a demon I could fight alone but I learned the hard way that this is not the case.”
Addiction is well depicted as a “demon.” It’s destructive, seductive, “cunning, baffling, and powerful.”
Strange as it may sound, I am thrilled for Senator Dutremble for several reasons:
– He’s reached what my friends in AA refer to as “the gift of desperation.” He has forsaken any further attempt to control his drinking or to resist alcohol alone.
– Ideally, he has come to see that what we fight is not simply the substance but more often ourselves.
– This is why we urge folks, “surrender to win.” When we surrender, we only stop battling with ourselves and with the idea that we can accomplish great things without the support and encouragement of others.
– The senator had the courage to share his struggle publicly. In doing so he opens doors for others to admit their needs and come forward too.
– He reduces stigma by showing that none of us are immune.
– He shows us that asking for help and making recovery a priority in one’s life are positive steps.
The senator may well be scandalized or otherwise judged poorly for his admission. I thank him for his service to date and most of all for the service he provided to countless others today.