Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Brief Word on Recovery

If noise is sound that bothers us, it might equally be said that an addiction is a repetitive behavior that bothers us. If a man goes to the same job every day for 40 years, few will describe it as an addiction, but if that same man smokes a cigarette- just one- the tears, warnings, and recriminations will come.

But here we come to a real fork in the road. Some would say that a former addict, now fully employed and re-integrated into society, is still an addict if they're using medication regularly. Others use a functional yardstick- society may require members to meet certain standards of dress and deportment, but, once met, can ask no more.

The functional approach demands opening the Pandora's box of employment, housing, decent schooling, medical care, and general social measures that ease the life path of those who can afford them and torment those who can't. It is, in fact, a slippery slope- once you realize that an alcoholic may be drinking to ease pain they can't get medical care for, you may see that the chronic pain is related to unemployability resulting from economic changes, and the inability to get re-educated.

So, what do you want? A prosperous community with lots of recovered 'addicts' fully employed, or prisons that are really full of people who can't 'kick the habit'? The choice is ours.

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