Tuesday, June 15

{ as easy as ADC }

This week I began a summer class at Santa Barbra City College, and I am already so pumped about the blogging material that is just begging to come out of it.
The class, which is under their ADC (Alcohol & Drug Counseling) degree program, is called Co-Occurring Disorders...meaning chemical dependence mixed with usually 3+ other disorders.
While my own body doesn’t have any personal experience with drugs (I think I’ve had half a prescribed Vicodin and a handful of Aleve and Advil in my lifetime), I’ve had enough friends and family go down that path that I’m tempted to call it personal experience, in one way or another.

Most/some/maybe none of you know that over the past year or so, I kind of ran the gamut of involvement with a friend who finally entered a month-long rehab program not too long ago. Through that experience I was both intrigued and inspired by the professional help that is available to both addicts and their loved ones. Of course, there were quite a few people/institutions along the way by which I was far less inspired. Or perhaps they did inspire me...to become better than them.

There is a range of other reasons as to why I'm interested in both mental health and substance abuse/addiction. One of those reasons might be (my obsession with) Dr. Drew Pinsky and my dedication to Celebrity Rehab over the years. But above all, let me tell you...when you love someone who is battling the disease of addiction, you start to see everything through that lens. I became an endless bin of knowledge—always researching, learning, trying to understand this thing that was so foreign to me only months earlier. Whether that meant watching reruns of Intervention or filling up my Internet history with Heroin Helper sites...I probably did it.

Throughout this process, friends and family (as well as my own counselor) encouraged me to test my own waters. So I researched schools in the area, found classes at CC, and voila...we are up to the present.

The first class was last night, and after minor introductions were made by all of the 35 students, I quickly realized I was one of maybe five who was not a recovering addict. Of those five, I was one of two under the age of 45. 
It’s the only class I’ve ever been in where someone asked a question and the teacher said, “Well, is there anyone in here with personal experience that would be willing to answer that?” And three people raised their hands to describe their firsthand withdrawal symptoms from coming down off Meth.

The second class tonight began by our professor commenting on how full the class was, but then explaining that from her experience, at least five will drop by the mid-term...due to relapse. My heart started to hurt just then. I hate that word.

I already feel humbled. 
I entered the class feeling quite sure of myself after watching loved ones survive full-fledged addictions...not to mention all of the episodes of Celeb Rehab I had under my belt. I left the first class feeling out of place, unsure of myself and my own knowledge...and lost. 

Sure...if you stuck me in a typical Westmont class with a typical Westmont demographic, I might be the only one who could explain how Suboxone works. 
But now Miss Private Liberal Arts is preparing to learn a thing or two. 

Pray for me...?


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