Pubdate: Wed, 08 Nov 2000
Date: 11/08/2000
Source: USA Today (US)
Author: Ingrid Middleton
Authors: Ingrid Middleton

No matter whether someone is a celebrity, drugs are a pervasive and
self-destructive attempt to avoid pain and coping with life (''The
long, slow slide of Robert Downey Jr.: Hollywood is too much for
actor, uncle says,'' Cover Story, Life, Nov. 29).

Whether it be Robert Downey Jr., who receives high-profile media
coverage or a single mother who stands to lose her kids, drugs become
a way of life for many reasons far too complicated to list in an
article or letter to the editor.

As a professional working with people with drug problems, I find a
common theme in so many who struggle is that the reality of living
comes up against wounds -- sometimes from childhood -- that never
heal. Feelings are buried and drugs keep the truth hidden, the pain is
undiscovered and left to fester for weeks, months and even years.

Sobriety is not a safe place to be: It is raw, lonely and unforgiving.
It isn't surprising Downey and millions of others find themselves back
where they started. Without good care and compassion for the
treacherous road to wellness -- it is almost inevitable.

May Downey's story open the doors and windows to the silent pain of

Ingrid Middleton,
Salt Lake City, Utah