Carole Bennett, a rather new contributor to The Huffington Post, has been blogging about substance abuse issues over the last several weeks in a new column ‘The Road to Addiction’. Carole is the founder of a nation-wide US phone counseling service after having suffered the effects of substance abuse in her family for many years–from her husband to her step-children.
Her blog posts are always eloquent, speaking from both a personal and clinical perspective. The result is an article that is at once informative and powerful.
This week, Carole, in response to her previous article ‘How Trauma Can Lead to Addiction‘, published one reader’s letter–a soulful, moving account of one man’s addiction. Although, no two path’s to addiction are the same, there is always common-ground in every shared human experience, and great comfort in the act of sharing. With this in mind, we felt it important to share one man’s story of trauma, healing, recovery, and success in hopes that it inspires you to either make a powerful change or rejoice in your own success:
Reading your column in The Huffington Post was a Godsend for me today. I’d never heard of you and have felt for years that my opinion on my reasons for substance abuse were only my own.
On August 9, 2001 my mother suddenly and unexpectedly died. Six months later, on February 14, 2002 my only daughter was abducted, held at her captor’s home and brutally raped for six very long days.
I responded with the worst experience of substance abuse imaginable, ending a 25 year marriage and concluding in treatment at the VA Medical Center. While there, trying to get a handle on what was happening to me and rejecting this antiquated theory that I was genetically predisposed to be an addict, it became a personal goal of those providing treatment to put me in my place and break me into a “time to go to a meeting” 12 step addict.
My storied experience persisted for over 6 years and has culminated in acts of patient abuse that would make your hair stand on edge. It did not help that I am black and my abusers are white. Racism dominated these relationships and concluded with seven VA. employees no longer holding positions in the Mental Health Care Line of the Dayton VA. The last person to be forced out for my charges of patient abuse was actually the Director-Chief of the Mental Health Care Line.
I have been free of substance abuse for five and a half years now and I live a productive life again. I knew that something horrible happening to me combined with my lack of the coping skills to deal with catastrophes was the cause of my problems but I was in the minority.
Having an entire department of Mental Health professionals pounding everyday to convince me that I was wrong and I was simply a hopeless addict actually hindered my recovery by years. It made the mountain so much harder to climb.
Thank you for bringing new thought and new words to recovery.
We applaud The Huffington Post for featuring Carole, bringing important issues of addiction treatment and substance abuse to light and hope that they reach out addicts, inspiring positive and powerful change.