Pubdate: Wed, 06 Nov 2002
Source: Georgia Straight, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 The Georgia Straight
Author: Dallas Gogal


Kudos and respect to Gladys Porcupine on her enlightening article "Viewing 
Addiction as a Choice" [Oct. 31-Nov. 7]. Just as we would recognize the 
contribution of both genes and environment toward creating what we are as 
individuals, we could surely recognize the social role of "addict" our 
society has constructed and just how debilitating this label is. How 
massively disempowering it must be to be told you have no choice in the 
matter of being you! Would we stand for any other such broadly defined 
segment of our population being ascribed immutable traits in a similar 
fashion? I think not.

As a newly graduated RN, I was taught to work toward empowerment with the 
client. Sadly, the medical and social-services system I have seen does 
nothing of the sort when it comes to addicts. In a massive case of 
codependency not even Dr. Phil could remedy, the myriad of substance 
abusers in the system are merely given Band-Aids and sent off to continue 
their path of self-destruction. Multiple hospitalizations and reliance on 
social assistance are assured for the "diseased". An entire part of our 
city sits a wasteland of human potential, crippled because of this ideation.

There has to be a better way. But are we willing to see outside the 
addiction dogma that held Porcupine under for so long?

Dallas Gogal

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