In My Town, What’s a Girl with a Drinking Problem to Do?

In an ideal world, Anne Fletcher’s statements about addictions treatment would be true: “[T]here are numerous…groups for recovery support” and “many pathways to recovery.” And Gabrielle Glaser’s:  “[T]here are many different tools, and there are many different options.”

Not in my town.

My town is in one of many rural areas experiencing increased levels of drug use and related consequences. In my town, those who think or know they have a problem with substance use have three options for treatment:

  1. a publicly supported social services agency
  2. 12-step groups
  3. detox

Treatment at the social services agency is primarily for those who do not have private insurance. Those with private insurance are welcome to use the services, but they would need to get in line with those without. Services include a treatment center with 6 beds. Wait times can be six months or more. A lot can happen in six months while drinking and using.

To my knowledge – which is pretty extensive on this subject – no counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist in my town specializes in addictions treatment.

And, according to Charles O’Brien, M.D., Ph.D., “Relapse after detoxification is a hallmark of addictive disorders.”

What’s a girl with a drinking problem to do? In my town? Today?

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
– John Donne

I went to a support group. According to Lance Dodes, I have a 1 in 15 chance of staying sober by doing that.

So be it. In a support group, I’m no longer the last woman standing on the 24-hour-a-day raging battlefield of trying to stay sane and sober. I can rest a minute. People who don’t have it just don’t get it: recovery from addiction is an all-day, every-day thing.

This town girl with a drinking problem has to do every single thing she can, all day, every day, to stay sober.

Photo: Risa Pesapane

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