"We need to do more thn just tell our troubles to God. God already knows. What we do need to learn to do is sit down with God and look for solutions: What actions to take, choices to make, directions to turn. In our conversation with God, we need to hear both the joyful and painful aspects of the situations in our lives. This is what I believe is 'turning it over.' Far from sitting and waiting for God to magically run our lives, turning it over involves turning in a 'different direction.' Sometimes, that different direction is what allows us to discover and appreciate God in ways we never thought possible."
Father Leo Booth
Unity Newsletter July 3, 2003

If you are not familiar with our national addiction to drugs, statistics from SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration) National Survey on Drug Use & Health (2006) show that there is an estimated 22.6 million persons over the age of twelve with substance dependence or abuse within the past year which is almost ten percent of our national population. Approximately, 1.6 million people received treatment at a specialty facility and 6.2 million people who reportedly felt they needed treatment but did not receive help for their problem.

My motivation for writing "Tales of Addiction" came when I completed coauthoring the manuscript "What’s Really Going On? Questioning Our View of Addiction" with my friend and colleague Deborah McCloskey. It also comes from my personal experience of living with an alcoholic father and again in my adulthood while coping with an alcoholic son. While researching the field of drug and alcohol addiction, it has become clear that more effort is needed to fully understand the plight of our addiction population, as well as, how this population can help guide younger generations toward the freedom of sobriety through the sharing of their own personal stories.

In the case of alcohol, most alcoholics are men but the incidence of alcoholism in women has been increasing over the past thirty years as has adolescent drug and alcohol abuse. Women tend to become addicted to alcohol later in life than men and it is estimated that 1.8 million older women suffer from alcohol addiction. Scientific advances over the last quarter century have established that drug addiction is a chronic brain disease. Alcohol has widespread effects on the brain and can affect neurons (nerve cells), brain chemistry, and blood flow within the frontal lobes of the brain. Researchers are particularly interested in systems of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the brain that are affected by alcohol. Some research is focusing on the way these neurotransmitters are employed in the brain after long-term alcohol use in order to adapt to the cravings and pain of withdrawal.

Key evidence for the view that drug addiction is a chronic brain disease consists of images of people’s brains taken during or following drug exposures. Brain imaging studies have provided information on individual drugs’ neurobiological effects; helped explain the causes and mechanisms of vulnerability to drug abuse; and yielded important insights into abusers’ subjective experiences and behaviors, including their struggles in recovery. (“NCE & Practice Perspectives,” April 2007)

Regarding the use of heroin, in the early 1970s MMT (methadone maintenance treatment) facilities expanded swiftly and was declared a ’success’… Yet, growth of both MMT clinics and numbers of patients treated quickly stagnated; then as now, MMT is available to only about one in five persons with the disease of heroin addiction. (“Addiction Treatment Forum” Vol. 15, #3 Summer 2006) This statistic demands recognition. Hope of addiction recovery for only one in five heroin addicts is a staggering statistic to consider.

Dr. Vincent Dole who died at age ninety-three in 2006 was considered by many the “Father of MMT.” He was highly respected for his “gentle giant” approach to patient advocacy. Dole felt “…if the persistent stigma and prejudice surrounding MMT is any indicator, society is still lacking the open-mindedness to accept the lessons of science over outdated beliefs.” Dole taught that substance dependence “…is foremost a chronic, relapsing medical disease, rather than simply a moral, mental, or behavioral problem,” and that “…above all else, practitioners must listen to their patients when it comes to providing effective care.”

Obviously, the need for addiction and recovery counselors is paramount to the task of guiding those addicted to drugs (including methadone) and alcohol toward that different direction which Father Leo Booth spoke about that can lead to a healthy sober future. I applaud all who have challenged themselves and society in helping direct our addicted population to sobriety.

A passionate advocate for addicts of all kinds is the director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Dr. Nora Volkow. Volkow states that brain science is proving that we all have the potential to become addicted to something: drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, gambling, even food.

"…researchers are learning that all addictions are more alike than was previously thought. Becoming an addict is more a matter of chance than we ever realized; mix the right combination of genetics and life experience, and anyone could find him or herself addicted to something."
“Newsweek” Dec/Jan 2006 Issue)

Dr. Volkow adds, “I have never met anyone who thought they would become addicted. They always say that this is the last thing they thought would happen to them… But this disease robs you of freewill. The challenge is to find a cure.”

Until a cure is discovered, let us proudly share our pain, struggles, failures and successes with one another in hopes that our children will not follow the addiction path. Whether sober, using, straight or in the process of recovery, everyone’s personal story can be a valuable insight for our younger generations, as well as, an awakening call to ourselves as adults.

With this in mind I have a "Call for Stories" out at this time:

A Call for Stories from Dr. Barbara Sinor
Therapist and Author: "An Inspirational Guide for the Recovering Soul," "Gifts From the Child Within," and "Beyond Words: A Lexicon of Metaphysical Thought"
New book projects: "What's Really Going On? Questioning Our View of Addiction" and "Tales of Addiction"

I am currently collecting 'addiction stories' for my next book "Tales of Addiction." If you have been or are addicted to a form of drug or alcohol, or you have been affected by someone who is or was addicted and would like to anonymously share your story; please email me to receive online information on how your addiction story can be considered for inclusion in this informative book. Whether sober, using, straight or in the process of recovery, everyone’s personal story of struggling with an addiction can be a valuable insight for our younger generations, as well as, an awakening call to ourselves as adults. I urge you to consider how sharing YOUR story of addiction might help both yourself and those facing similar life struggles.

***Email Your Story to: DrSinor@aol.com — In the Subject box type: "Addiction Story" to ensure receipt***
Or, write me: P.O. Box 382 Middletown, CA 95467

Details and more information about how to share your personal story regarding drugs and/or alcohol is now available: www.DrSinor.com

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Sinor has been a counselor and author for over twenty-five years. She has three books published and two more in progress.