Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Unwritten Rule Book

Once again I am making an attempt to 'blog'.  After all, it's only been a couple of years or so since the last post.  Since that time, many of my friends have encouraged me to do the thing which has served me well in some situations and maybe not so much in others.  Casey said I did too much of it and that's 'talk'.

So, to my followers, my apology for not 'talking to you' for quite some time.  It may be more than presumptuous of me to think that you are interested in what I may have to say.  However, for those who are, this is something that I have been mulling over for quite some time - the Unwritten Rule Book.

For a book of rules that is so illusive, it wields a tremendous amount of power and influence.  I've never seen this 'book' but have certainly been made aware of the 'rules' for families of addicted loved ones.  Here are some of which I have become painfully aware (not ranked according to importance, just as they come to mind):

1- If  the parent of a child is under the age of 18 who is sick makes sure they get the proper medical attention, he or she is a 'good and loving parent'.  Once they become "an adult", albeit one who has a brain disease called addiction, efforts to access the best care possible are 'co-dependent' and 'enabling' behaviors.

2 - If your loved one has the disease of addiction and they overdose, it's acceptable to reverse that overdose one time.  If they overdose after that, using Narcan (Naloxone), that is encouraging their drug use. 

3 - If the person who is addicted behaves in a manner that is dictated by their disease, discharging them from treatment is the remedy. 

4 - Since treatment for addiction is not always successful, it's a waste of time and money to provide access to it.

5 - Not everyone will survive the disease of addiction and we need to practice acceptance.

6 - It's acceptable for physicians to choose not to treat the disease of addiction. 

7 - What's the big deal?  Just arrest them! Punishment by incarceration is what's needed for this disease.  Once they have suffered enough consequences, they will "get it".

8 - The person must 'want' treatment.  Otherwise, it won't be successful.

9 - Loved ones try to intervene so 'they' will feel better.  It is of little or no benefit to the person who is addicted.

10 - Addiction is a choice.  If they "want" it bad enough, they will recover.

I never thought that Casey would die from a 'socially unacceptable' disease, a disease that is shrouded in myths/unwritten rules that continue to dictate the treatment available to a person who is addicted.  All other chronic illnesses have an established standard of care that promotes health and healing.  Addiction on the other hand is defined as a disease and treated as a crime. Where does our hope lie for a paradigm shift?  I believe it will come from families like ours, families like the ones who changed the attitudes and perceptions about AIDS or like the efforts of MADD.  

I hope that one day we will look back with wonder and amazement at how far we have come in advancing the science of addiction and erasing the stigma, the stigma that must have been a contributor to The Unwritten Rule Book. 

Until next time. . .

Casey's mom