Many residents of Ypsilanti, Michigan found it difficult to be grateful this Thanksgiving holiday. A 43 year old local woman died, after her car rolled over. Apparently she lost control of the wheel as she was travelling west on I-94 near Romulus.
The most unfortunate part of this tragedy, is that it could have been prevented. The woman (who shall be known as Jane Doe) was intoxicated. Ironically, Ms. Doe was a recovering alcoholic/addict, who had recently relapsed after nearly two years of sobriety.
Some people may assume that this woman died as a consequence of a `wild night of partying’, but the truth of the matter is that Ms. Doe sufferred from the dreadful disease of addiction. Addiction is an incurable disease of the mind, body and spirit. Like all diseases, addiction is progressive, permanent, and terminal, if left untreated.
A common misconception concerning recovery, is that it is as simple as not using alcohol or drugs. Abstinence, however, is only half the battle. Recovery is an ongoing, day-by-day process that begins with surrender. Surrender refers to effectively following the first three steps of a 12 step program. The first three steps are `admitting that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable’, `we came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity’, and `we made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him’. Recovery, also, entails following a twelve step program, obtaining a sponsor (a fellow member of AA or NA who helps the addict remain sober), working the steps, and attending `tons’ of meetings. In other words, recovery is a complete and total change of the addict’s lifestyle.
A very frequent part of the recovery process is relapse. Some recovering addicts view relapse as being healthy, because as the addict begins the recovery process all over again, they learn where their weakest points lie, and how to go about improving in those areas. Some addicts die as a result of relapse, so it is highly imperative to have a relapse prevention plan in place. Ms. Doe did not have the privelege of learning from her relapse, because in the end her disease proved to be fatal. All because she decided to have one last drink!