Tonight I had the chance to circle back and say thank you to two women who were very important in my early recovery but whom I had never met before.
I am at the Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders--1,000 people--clinicians, treatment professionals, interventionists, hospital folks and writers, speakers and teachers. The workshops have been terrific, and I feel like a kid in a candy store--well, maybe that's a bad metaphor since this symposium is about ALL addictions: alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, work, sex, TV and media, shopping, debt and, and, and...
But part of what I am appreciating here is that the addiction is in the person and not in the substance, and that in any family each person can have one or more different addictions as a reaction to the same trauma. So much for thinking that one drug is better/worse than another. Addiction is the disease.
When my recovery began I didn't have those words or ideas. I just had huge amounts of shame and a crazy amount of behaviors and substances that originally worked to soothe my shame but then went on to make my shame bigger. But I feel blessed and lucky that my recovery began with a group of folks who really believed in Alanon and ACOA as well as AA and OA. And we went to ACOA groups and passed around and wore out books by Claudia Black and Rokelle Lerner, who, along with Janet Woititz, were the pioneers of the Adult Children Therapy movement.
Tonight the plenary presentation was by Claudia Black, Rokelle Lerner and Jerry Moe--director of the children's program at Betty Ford. I felt like I was seeing my rock stars. It's 30 years later and they are 30 years oder too--but what inspired me is their passion for helping families and kids--of all ages. I'm grateful and inspired.