Alcoholics Anonymous Blog/Video Sept 25 DonInLondon Step 9 " Amends Into Action"
September 25, 2013: "the last few days and the next few days are all about medical tests." And last night a reading from the literature about health professionals and how they are somewhat hindered when trying to help the alcoholic. When trying to help the active alcoholic that is, because when there is no rhyme or reason in a thinking man's or woman's mind to why person cannot stop drinking, prejudice can run riot. Professionals very often do not wish to accept that addiction is a disease and renders a person powerless over there addiction. Unless of course the person who is a medical professional has become an active addict or alcoholic.
And what about prejudice by individuals in recovery towards some of the medical fraternity? Very easy to poke holes in the ability of others to be helpful. And when I start to hear cautionary tales about the competence and professionalism of some medical people, from the mouths of those who could not stop their own addictive behaviour without the help of the many, is it any wonder that some medical professionals cannot understand addiction nor can they understand why the addict cannot stop of their own accord?
When we listen to others in recovery, sometimes we hear the most harrowing and difficult stories of loss. We are not immune to the rest of life happening and sometimes outside help is absolutely necessary to help an alcoholic or an addict keep on track and understand how to experience grief and how to grieve. Just because we know and have lived through grief ourselves, and there may be recognisable ways of understanding grieving, until it is experienced personally, we are somewhat hindered in our helpfulness. And everyone will grieve differently depending on their life experiences. And when individuals in recovery make judgements and condemn medical professionals, counsellors and therapeutic processes, that sort of prejudice is the prejudice of ignorance.
When people say or the odd individual says, "all you need is the big book and do the twelve steps," they forget everything else to do with recovery. And there is nothing worse than a zealot, a fixed outlook without flexibility preaching ignorance to other people. The Fellowship is about love, care, emotional and spiritual living. It is the experience of living which provides context and how the twelve steps are lived, anyone can read the big book and know the twelve steps, they cannot develop experience, strength and hope and pass an exam. Recovery is simply sober today and then everything that life with throw at us be it good, bad and ugly. I do believe medical professionals are learning, counsellors and therapeutic listeners are all part of the mix in learning and understanding how to help an addict in recovery.
And a TV programme last night, all about Paul Gascoigne, the famous footballer who experiences the highs and lows of being an addict in recovery. I could only really watch the first few minutes and then needed to stop watching. It is not because his story of experience strength and hope is alien to me, by no means, I just didn't need more last night after a good meeting locally. So the word is being spread, I don't know how well programmes on TV help people understand. The good news is that TV programmes about addiction and where it takes people opens the door to some finding their way to medical professionals and maybe the Fellowship. In Fellowship I hope people remember that we are nonprofessional, and that part from the big book which suggests that if we do not know what is good for ourselves, we better be careful when we express views about what might be right for others.
So these last few days I have been immersed in medical matters to do with me. There is good news, I've improved my blood sugar averages, and I have improved my cholesterol levels. All the blood tests taken so far suggest that my major organs are all working well and the ingredients in my blood seem to be okay. I am being tested however, more blood tests for thyroid function. And I have to get and EEG done later in the week. And there are questions around low blood pressure and dizziness. And there are some conflicts in my own mind about the way GPs and some professionals conduct themselves. Having tried to get my prescriptions dispensed correctly over the last four weeks, I have yet to succeed. So I could be in the camp of undermining and decrying the competence of GPs in general and especially the guidelines medical professionals have to follow. These guidelines are like life, very often subject to individual interpretation, individual prejudices and individual attitudes and behaviour towards patients, not just alcoholics and addicts, everyone they see. There is good bad and ugly everywhere. Malfeasance by professionals and wilful prejudice is as bad as malfeasance and wilful prejudice of alcoholics and addicts in recovery.
So it is an interesting world, ignorance and prejudice can make life very ugly. And I am thankful that the spiritual awakening in the big book appendix II, always helps me get back on track. When we live in an open honest and willing way, to keep on learning with an open mind on all elements of life, life becomes more meaningful. And the worst part of anything is contempt prior to investigation. Just because something is not working now, it does not mean that it cannot be changed or least we can find a path out of harms way. And when we listen to others who have experienced grief and loss and sought outside help, outside the Fellowship, undermining the efficacy and helpfulness of outside help is a really ignorant thing to do. A bit like tarring all alcoholics with the same brush.
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