RSS

Tag Archives: Betty Ford

What Would Bill W. Do?

Not too long ago, there was some media buzz about the efficacy of addiction therapy.  This is not a popular subject.  If one works in the rehabilitation (rehab) industry one is understandably resistant to any metric devices that might prove the methodology ambiguous.  Addiction is a very resistant phenomenon.  There are occasions, when a society of thinking people can agree, that lacking a 100% guarantee, erring on the side of empathy and care is optimal.  For some addicts, the simple act of stopping something in motion, is enough to change their lives.  Rehabilitation can be that barricade.

Addiction to alcohol, drugs or eating disorders has never seemed quiet or private to me.  I recognize someone in the throes of the phenomenon (whether they are using or not.)  People with a Faustian relationship with food are very obvious to me, and I completely understand the entertainment value of metaphorically playing with one’s food.  Of course, when it spills into passive suicidal tendencies, all bets are off.  It is torture to be in the life of an addict.  Addicts can be very unpredictable and by definition, not reliable (their primary relationship is to their addiction.)  Empathy can wear thin after multiple incidents.  It is helpful to remember that people use drugs, food, and alcohol to the point of personal destruction, NOT because the substances or processes are so tempting, but because without them, life would be unbearable.  In other words; drugs, eating disorders and alcohol work.  They numb and distract from an inner pain that for some people is devastatingly crippling.

Posh rehab centers are part of the American lexicon.  Most of us can rattle off one or two without thought (Hazelden, Betty Ford.)  Colleges and universities now address eating disorders via education campaigns, marketing (‘all you can eat’ dining have been replaced with ‘all you care to eat’ dining) staff training and additional counseling staff.  Certainly excessive/binge drinking (which can be an indication of alcoholism) has been the bane of higher education for some time (drug abuse, because of its inherent illegality poses more of a conundrum.)  Employers contracting with treatment providers has become de rigueur.  Clearly, there is treatment available for some.

But what of the veterans?  Veterans are returning, and mercifully will continue to do so in even greater number now.  They will come back to what kind of treatments and where?  This week it was reported that 1 in 5 suicides is that of a veteran.  Now, I’d be the first to say that NOT screening people for mental illness before enlistment is absurd.  But regardless, we have a problem here.  I don’t mean to imply that veterans (or anyone) who commits suicide is an addict.  Not at all.  But there is overlap.  Suicide, most often, is not a well thought out end of life plan, but an act of someone who feels they have no options.  Addiction is also the result of feeling there are no feasible options.  Teaching people to recognize their pain for what it is, and providing them tools to pull themselves out of that pain, is effective.  Rehabilitation, at its best, does just that.

So what’s our plan?  If rehabilitation is accepted by the wealthy, the educated and corporate America, as viable treatment for addiction, shouldn’t it be available to all?

 

 



 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Cultural Critique, Well-Being

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Betty Ford

Betty Ford has died.  I will never be confused for a political analyst, and my childhood memories are as suspect as anyone’s.  However, I am struck with the idea that Mrs. Ford was an American pioneer.  Long before the Huffington Post, the country knew Mrs. Ford’s opinions on serious social issues.  Decades (and generations) before any First Lady would be criticized for being politically vocal, Mrs. Ford made her position known on such subjects as legalized abortion, the ERA and premarital sex (remember, this was the 1970s, premarital sex was still up for discussion as a social ill.)

Before we had the luxury of watching newsreaders have their colon examined on national television, Betty Ford went public with her bout of breast cancer.  Before there were little pink ribbons, Mrs. Ford inspired tens of thousands of women to be screened and seek treatment.

Forty years before people would make a career from their public struggles with addiction, Mrs. Ford went public with her struggles.  She helped to create the treatment center which is now such a part of the American vernacular it is used as a verb.

Long before Gawker or AwfulPlasticSurgery.com, the world knew (and saw) Betty Ford’s face lift.  Almost unrecognizable to the yet untrained American eye, Mrs. Ford lifted her face proudly.

I know little, if anything of her husband’s politics (save for the pardon) but I am willing to venture that Mrs. Ford’s “firsts” outweigh her husband’s.  For better or worse, she really was our nation’s first; Public Figures, They’re Just Like Us!Bet

 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 20, 2011 in Cultural Critique

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,678 other followers