We have some notions that do not correspond completely, our paths cross and diverge. Yet somehow wind up in the same place. Think about the implications.
My name is Sarah, and I am alcoholic.
My own story is long, sometimes entertaining (“Hun, those flower pots out there are NOT toilets,”) and sometimes heartbreaking (“Mom, I can’t get a hold of Sarah again….”). I’ve had an interesting road to recovery – and I was a die-hard alcoholic. I did not just have a few *diluted urines* - I fuckin hid vodka in water bottles for crying out loud. (you know, because no one could obviously tell)
My story is an eight year long saga, most of it has been chronicled on my own blog, Complications of a Perfect, for those who wish to browse. These days I write a lot less about sobriety and much more about life – it’s the evolution every addict strives for, I assume.
I’ve written this guest post for several reasons: By sharing my testimony and support, I offer you a new perspective on HPRP, and will point out (in MHO) of where “Dr.” Gammons went terribly, terribly wrong.
I do believe in God, and the 12 steps of AA. I believe the program has value, and that it saved my life. I mention that lest you think this blog, this cause is supported only by agnostic/atheist AA-haters. It is not. You can believe in God, and AA AND agree that this douche, Gammons, is hurting his patients in sick and indescribable ways – and you should. It is futile to contemplate what my fate had been if Gammons had been my doctor - I had options to change, a luxury my sister was not given. My question: when you strip options from an addict, rob their freedom, AND degrade them when they ask for these options, how do you than expect RECOVERY in any form?
Gammons expected his *stubborn, agnostic, addict* to fail, and then ensured that exact outcome.
To illustrate my point: Any addictionist may FEEL their patient is hopeless, but they should maintain proper treatment regardless. Period. This requires staying as positive as possible and guiding their patient towards success no matter what they think or FEEL. I spent 9 days in rehab – my insurance company had authorized 13. I felt I had learned a lot and I promised to do Intensive Outpatient Therapy. I knew my therapist and dr had wanted me to complete the 13 days, but they had enough faith in me and my determintaion that they released me. They had doubts, which I discovered later, but I had no idea at the time.
(I almost completed IOP – does that count?)
Upon picking up my life where it had left off 9 days earlier, I was pretty committed to my meetings and my family. It happened that I could only concentrate on one of the two classes I had enrolled in. It was a short spring term, however, and the time to withdraw had passed.
Needing my medical records to process the exception, I promptly requested a copy to submit to my school.
OK - I shouldn’t have done this, but who would be able to resist, I mean REALLY?! What did they really think of me?! Don’t we all want to know what our drs are scribbling on those stupid note pads??? Fuckin curiosity. I totally read my case file.
Prognois for recovery: fair to poor
Probability for relapse: probable
WHAT?! Fuck you! You fuckin haters! I’ll show you!
But I digress – this was in my file, but I would NEVER in a million years have guessed that. I was treated with respect, positive meetings, lots of support, etc. I thought I was the model student. BECAUSE THE DRS AND THERAPISTS CHARGED WITH MY CARE MADE ME FEEL THAT WAY.
And although I did have relapses – several, short weekend long ones after a 14 month string of straight sobriety – in August, I will have 5 straight years, no drinking. That is my experience, my testimony.
For the past couple of years, I have sat with my sister more times than I can count, either after or before her meetings and dr appointments. Endless hours filled with: “I don’t know what to do, Sarah, this program just isn’t for me…” “Sarah, what if you just don’t believe in God and the 12 steps…what are the other treatment options?” “I hate this, I hate going, I hate being forced into only ONE option that doesn’t work for me.” “No, I can’t be completely honest at these meetings, they are run by the very people making the decisions about my license….”
Unable to come up with alternatives or solutions for her, I tried to explain that she could do it, without the God part. But since she couldn’t be honest in her group meetings, we used to come up with rehearsed speeches for her, just so it could seem like she was participating. I gave her cheater phrases so she could fake it. Because it WASN’T right that they wouldn’t give her options. They forced her to fake her *progress* so she wouldn’t get berated or punished with longer probation periods. She could NEVER admit to a relapse, like we all can in regular AA meetings, or she would have been disciplined. Proof: one simple admission got her 2 weeks in rehab. Need I say more about the ineffectiveness about this program called HPRP???
It is deplorable that she felt the need to do this. How could she truly get better is she was trying to constantly FAKE her feelings?! The entire HPRP program is BROKEN.
Those were her meeting concerns, her doctor tears were the worst of it:
“He yells at me, Sarah.” “I don’t believe in God, so I am being stubborn – he SAID that to me.” “He told me ‘I don’t want you to talk – your words mean nothing. I talk, you listen.” “I can hear him yelling at other patients when I am waiting, and I almost start crying before I even see him….”
HEY, FUCK YOU, GAMMONS.
I’ve sponsored MANY people who NEVER came to believe in God! I’ve seen the steps altered hundreds of times over so that it works for THEM. Old school AA buddies disagree, and hardcore addictionists disagree, but THIS is the TRUTH: The disease, like all diseases, is a science. The treatment, like ALL medical treatments, is an art. It is fluid, and it is specific to the patient.
Dr. Gammons, I ask you – can you count any non-Christians in the patients you feel are in *recovery*? Because I can, and I’m only a sponsor.
My credentials, in case your wondering: BS in Psychology, 8 years in recovery, and 5 years of actively sponsoring over 20 women in that time. If I did my research, I’m sure I could prove a higher success rate. Because I’ve BEEN there, on both sides, have you GAMMONS?