Active addiction and relapse

Last evening my peer support meeting was very disturbing, unsettling, anxiety provoking.  First one of the group members, these are all "doctors" of one sort or another, mostly physicians and dentists, had had a significant relapse to drug use.  He's a likable, very intelligent person who has probably never been to a regular Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) meeting which is where he belongs.  This relapse was probably one of many over the last several years, but this time it was too much for his supportive family and they gave him an ultimatum and he ended up returning from a foreign country to a local psychiatric hospital for a brief detox and then into an intensive outpatient program.  He was of course quite ashamed and feeling that terrible guilt we know so well.  He seemed to not realize that we are "Sick not bad, getting well not getting good."  Everybody was very supportive and compassionate.  He has a younger friend at the meeting, another doc w an addiction problem, who following his lead does nopt go to regular N.A. but just attends these peer support meetings.  He's on the verge of getting his license to practice medicine back, but his mentor's relapse may have been instructive.  Maybe they can both begin to attend N.A. as I have suggested, maybe not.  I've never met anyone too stupid to get well.  I've met quite a few people too smart.

The there's this other doc who has been coming around for eighteen months or so using crystal meth and drinking "a little," but he says the drinking really isn't an issue.  He'd like to get clean but there are some problems with his personal relationships and perhaps one or two other priorities that are preventing him from signing a contract with the dental society or going into a treatment program.  There's little question in my mind despite the fact that this is a program of attraction, a program for people who want it not for people who need it, that it is only when someone's ass is on fire that the priorities shift.  Its too bad that that's the reality, but that is the reality.

Many people at the meeting were quite emotionally stirred up by these two people and their situations.  That's as it should be.  I tried to be helpful, warmly welcoming the first man and telling the second about a treatment program perfectly suited to his needs and strongly encouraging him to attend that program.  I've been telling him the same thing for months, leaving him phone messages because he will never pick up the phone.  But really, I go to meetings to hear these stories, to be reminded that I have an illness that is chronic and requires that on a daily basis I ask for help, go to meetings, work the Steps, stay active, say thank you at the end of the day.  It was a good meeting for me.
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