Aug. 3. 2006

I just got back from the local wannabe health food store with over $100 of vitamins and supplements. My detox and 2 weeks of intensive treatment was quite a disappointment. Yes, I’ve been drinking too much on and off for 35 years, putting poison into my body to the point that physical symptoms (that I hope will not be permanent) are obvious, even to others. But, even though it may have been a waste, since by now my body can’t even absorb them, I eat organic foods.

My therapist and psychiatrist were after me for several months to go into detox, but I insisted on waiting until the end of my teaching semester. The last two classes I taught I had already drunk a bottle of wine beforehand and they were worried that I would get fired and, rightly so, about me driving home. Finally it was time, and I went to the place that was supposed to be the best place around, in fact, I did have fellow detoxers from as far away as Texas and Alaska (I was in CA).

It is also a place that has been known for almost a century for promoting healthy living and eating. The first night, supper was a pathetic looking hamburger on a white bun, with French fries. I was raised on mostly a vegetarian diet and definitely never ate white bread or French fries. The next day lunch was a fried fish burger on a white bun, with French fries. We were captives and all heavily drugged, so I guess they thought they could save money feeding us, even though our treatment was very, very expensive.

Although I had been able, recently, to go a month without drinking and NO side effects, they immediately gave me so much Valium that I couldn’t get out of bed for 3 days, and I think it slowed me down for weeks. I know that they did give us vitamin B during detox, but then we went to “Sober Living” houses, where there was no opportunity to get healthy food or vitamins, since we weren’t allowed cars.

We were wakened up at 4:30 am, so we could be ready for the shuttle at 5:30 sharp (12 women with 2 bathrooms), in order to make it to a 6:30 am AA meeting where, although there were usually about 100 people, only the same 7 old white guys spoke, sharing the same stories, over and over. If it was someone’s birthday, even if they were of color or a woman, they were invited to lead the meeting, but otherwise, they were only asked to read THE PASSAGES.

I left after 2 weeks. My counselors were great, wonderful human beings, but I needed something more. They, of course, saw me as “out.” It seems so black and white, us AA’ers vs. the “Lost, Deluded Ones.”

I am doing great! I still have to restore my body and my brain. My body has suffered, my brain has suffered. My treatment counselor and my insurance case manager believe that I should go into intensive treatment where I cannot escape for at least 30 days. I don’t know, maybe they are right, but for now, I am feeling better than I have in years, and my body knows that it can recover.

Yes, I occasionally have a drink or two or three, but I am not dangerous and my body and emotions and many other things are coming back to life.

I just finished a wonderful training about nutrition and the brain. My poor brain has suffered a lot. It hasn’t gotten the nutrients it needs for a long time, partly because cells have covered the receptors for nutrients in my intestinal wall, and partly because of stress dealing with an abusive bipolar husband for many years and raising two sons with bipolar disorder. During my training, they spoke of caretaker dementia and how it shrivels the brain. I should not have been drinking with what probably was already happening to my brain, but, I guess, that was what I did to survive.

My kids are now grown, and doing extremely well. It’s me that crashed.

Anyway, now I have learned how to heal my intestines and, hopefully, how to restore my brain.

I have also searched on the Internet to decide where I would choose to go into more treatment, if I had to. Sadly enough, I have seen many centers that offer what I had hoped that I my get in going to this “top of the line” treatment program. There are a few that immediately connect you with an IV with nutrients (we are all nutrient deficient when we enter treatment, either from not eating or because we have destroyed the linings of our stomachs and our intestines, where nutrients are absorbed.

There are some that offer acupuncture and neural feedback, which does show to be effective with addictions and some that say their approach is SEN (sleep, exercise, and nutrition.)

Wow, I will never recommend the program that I went to, these 3 necessities were exactly what we were deprived of.

I can’t guarantee that my new program will work and it is expensive. Insurance only pays for what the drug companies are pushing as the “only way.” They do not pay for prevention or vitamins, only pharmaceuticals. I said that my new program with nutrients was expensive, it really costs a fraction of the drugs that I have been prescribed, but because it comes out of my pocket, since insurance won’t cover healthy nutrition.

Well, the first thing I plan to do is to restore my poor GI tract, and then to add some nutrients that have been terribly depleted and to use some vitamins and nutrients that are said to reduce cravings.

After I can see, by the brain testing that I am now trained to do, that everything is fairly restored and functioning, I will ease off of the supportive drugs that I am now taking, but that have side effects, like Effexor, Campral (Acomprosate) and Naltrexone (Revia) and look forward to the rest of my life.

Please share, if you are on a similar path. What works, what doesn’t? We can be anonymous if we need to be, some of us feel like we have been anonymous and in the shadows all of our lives. Regardless, I would love to connect with those on a close path.