Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jul 2005
Source: Press Journal  (Vero Beach, FL)
Copyright: 2005, The E.W. Scripps Co.
Author: Karen Fisher


Regarding Michael Reese's June 28 letter about inmates seeking rehabilitation:

Although 83 percent of those incarcerated have substance 
abuse/dependence issues, the primary purpose of the penal system is 
to separate those who are lawbreakers from those who are law-abiders. 
It is a system based on punishment, not rehabilitation.

Is it a flawed system? Yes. Is it responsible for your recovery? No.

The current and most popular model of understanding the nature of 
alcohol and drug problems is the medical model. This states that 
alcoholism and drug addiction are chronic diseases lasting a 
lifetime. Once a person knows and accepts this, it becomes his 
responsibility to treat it. Rehabilitation centers are in the 
business of treating these diseases.

The first part of the process is to stop drinking and drugging 
completely. Then comes dealing with the obsession to use, and working 
on new coping skills. Many people maintain their sobriety and 
continue working toward recovery by participating in a 12-step 
program, seeking professional counseling and connecting with others 
in recovery.

By learning and working to manage the obsession, the compulsion to 
pick up that first drink or drug again and the "phenomenon of 
craving" will, hopefully, be avoided. Ask anyone in recovery and 
they'll tell you: "One is too many, and a thousand is never enough."

Michael, just as your actions have led you to jail, your actions can 
propel you toward recovery. Consider this time you are serving as an 
opportunity to start over. You can learn to change your own thoughts 
and actions. It's your choice.

If you still have family waiting for you with open arms, consider 
yourself lucky, but don't expect them to beg for your freedom if you 
slip and fall again (and again and again). Many families have been 
there and done that. Enough is enough.

Karen Fisher

Vero Beach
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth