Addiction — everywhere else but here?

It has been a while since that topic was my professional concern. I worked at the Brattleboro Retreat, in Brattleboro, VT as an intern in Psychology, and then as a psychologist/therapist in their chemical addiction programs. It was an eye-opening experience, followed by my work with families and in-patients at a detox facility in Massachusetts and then on to opening my own practice where most of my clients, all professionals, in one way or another had been affected by their or a family member’s addicted behavior.

Alcohol/drug addiction is not easily diagnosed; most alcoholics are high functioning members of our society and workforce! It is usually in the couple’s relationship or in the family dynamic that dysfunctional behavior is most evident. One of the characteristics of the addictive personality is their wit, their capability to fetter up excuses and rationalization for their unacceptable behaviors. In the realm of the relationship, this becomes intolerable, and utterly confusing for the spouse to accept as truth, as well as extremely difficult to rebut!

So why do I burden you with this knowledge? Because none of the professions, including innkeeping, is immune to the disease! Innkeepers are attracted to the “good life.” Many innkeepers dreamed of their independence from the corporate world and became masters of their own craft: capable, successful, and hard-working. Oh, how difficult, extremely difficult, to identify the problem for them. Innkeepers work long hours, work often with their spouses/significant other, and love what they do and serving their guests!

But still the depression builds, and the excuses multiply, and quietly the addictive person allows themselves one more glass. Or alone, hidden, they sneak to finish the bottle, the jar of pills to relieve the anxiety, the pressure and the frustration and embrace the guilt, the shame, and the lies in an endless repetitive circle. Each day’s mantra is for a new start, only to finish like yesterday, compromised.

Vermont mountain sunriseI am writing this because I know that addiction is out there: 90% of our population knows of an alcoholic or is affected by them, and that the abuser is powerless!  There is no magic, but if you can admit to the problem, there is support and professional help available. If you attend AA or get help from a professional, it only matters to you, your loved ones, and your children. Your guests expect that your behavior is predictable and that they are safe and can count on you.

There was heavy fog after the torrential rains last night, but the sun started to filter through the trees and Chocolat and I are were grateful for being out here greeting the day.

Best wishes to all of you.
– Heide

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