Slave Lake, AB
Addiction seems to be more and more like an epidemic. It’s an issue that touches almost everyone either directly or indirectly, and yet discussion is often shrouded in mystery and beset by misinformation. I set out to change the latter with the following six articles.
1. Introduction of the Author
2. Basic Definitions
3. The Disease
4. Meet the Addict
5. Meet the Co-Dependent
6. What can be done?
After becoming a registered nurse one of my first jobs was working at Johns Hopkins Hospital. That was followed by being in charge of pediatrics in another hospital in Baltimore, MD. Then I returned to Saskatchewan. Again my life was nursing. I was in charge of a small town hospital in Eston and it was home for the next 32 years. Home, and my introduction to knowledge about mood altering drugs. My husband went from social drinking to being what is called a functioning alcoholic.
He became sober in 1968 and soon after chose not to keep his sobriety a secret. He spent the rest of his life helping people who were chemically addicted and helped them to open doors to serenity and a good life. At the same time, I found my attitudes about problem drinkers, let alone the disease itself, needed a drastic overhauling.
We had for some time in our work with alcoholics and their families (marijuana was just starting to be heard of) felt there was something missing from our treatment centres. Grant retired from pharmacy and worked full time as head of a detox centre. As for me I went to two different treatment centres in the States where we had been sending patients. I first went to Mandan ND’s centre, and then Rimrock Foundation in Billings Montana where I stayed for five months, the last two months employed as a head of their outpatient department. I have a letter and certificate from Rimrock Foundation stating that they found me “to be qualified to provide intensive outpatient treatment services for chemical dependency, co-dependency and pathological gambling.”
All of my experiences resulted in many employment opportunities. First of all, both of the centres I just mentioned paid me to do aftercare for any of their patients who were from Saskatchewan and had gone to them for treatment. They consider aftercare to be necessary for recovery. More employment opportunities – working part time as a nurse in the detox centre, then full time as an addiction counselor in the treatment centre in Saskatoon, working as an aftercare addiction counselor for the patients of a government centre for (only) “Driving While Impaired” court appointed patients. The courts could give them a choice of treatment at the centre or jail. Another job for the government was setting up from start to finish a treatment centre on the James Smith Reservation near Prince Albert, SK
The highlight of all learning experiences was a seminar in New Orleans that I had to attend before starting with the Rimrock studies. It was under Dr. Masters of Masters and Johnson.
I was the only Canadian there with some 500 plus American therapists. It was there also that I came to remember what Abraham Lincoln said when talking about people who were “drunkards” (so they were called) “… remember they are sick, not sinners”.