Getting On Our Soapbox


This morning my neighbor, who I met in the hall at 5:30 a.m., asked me if I was a “stewardess”. I got all snippy and said, “Do you mean flight attendant?” as if I was one, and felt the need to defend the melting pot of our workforce. I didn’t ask him what he did for a living that had him up and at ’em at the crack of dawn, and my guess is he asked me because I was wearing my Ralph Lauren blazer with the crest on the pocket that Val says makes me look like an “air hostess”. As my next-door neighbor, he probably hears me in the mornings (vacuuming, shouting “Eureka” when an idea forms…) and has been trying to figure out what I do for a living.

I have the most energy between 5 in the morning and noon. Fact. So I try to take advantage of that time by writing, thinking great thoughts, hanging paintings, turning on the dishwasher or moving heavy furniture. This morning I was particularly jazzed because my head was filled with statistics about addiction. Yesterday, Rae, Lynnel and I went to Spectrum Health where Rae gave the first in a series of Sanford House CE Credit talks for Alcohol Awareness Month.

When we arrived, our host Annette Lockwood, told me she reads the blog (surprise) and that it’s “addicting”.  Anyway, Rae was great and the thing I took away from the SRO crowd (many in lab coats) was that there is a genuine need to educate those in the medical field about addiction. The high degree of interest and the questions asked by our august audience, indicated they were eager to hear more on the matter.

Sometimes I think we are too close to the subject of addiction (for me it doesn’t get any closer). We need to step back. Or better yet, step onto our soapbox and remind the world that the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s definition of “addiction” is”:

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

Further, to remind ourselves that there are more than 23 million American adults in recovery from addiction today.

That’s 1 in every 10.

Today I’m not drinking because in every group over 10 people I am in, I’m doing the math…

How come you’re not drinking?