Happy New Year!!

Since my column is titled, Dr. Dawn’s Rx.  I thought I would write something at least tangentially medical on occasion. Now that 2013 is arriving, typical topics in meetings include new beginnings, resolutions, Step One, etc. Let’s have fun in this column starting the New Year by looking at and learning a bit more about how addiction specialists look at our disease. Below is the official short Definition of Addiction used by The American Society of Addiction Medicine

 The long definition covers about nine pages and can be found at the back of my book, From the Edge of the Cliff.

Short Definition of Addiction: “Addiction Continue reading

More on Holidays….aghhhh!!!

Author’s Note: I use the words alcoholic and addict almost interchangeably. An alcoholic is an alcohol addict and most likely capable of abusing more than just alcohol. The Narcotics Anonymous first Step tells us we are “Powerless over our addiction…”, which applies to every alcoholic and addict I know. I have not met any alcoholics who are powerless only over alcohol. I pray you will not take offense at the language I use in this column. If you do, please let me know your concerns… after you write a fourth Step and do a fifth Step with your sponsor on whatever is bothering you. Smile!  The Steps work on everything!

Small wonder many alcoholics and addicts mark their recovery date on or around January first. Many of us finally have had enough after going through yet another holiday season drunk, loaded, puking and/or passed out. Bad enough to not remember the parties and family time, but often we do huge damage. For compulsive overeaters, this is an especially difficult time and enormous weight gain is common. Continue reading

Holidays…not for the faint-hearted!

Old painful memories seem to come up at the most inopportune times.  Emphasis on joy and peace around the holidays is, for many of us, the opposite of how we feel. Triggers come in the form of songs, parties, decorations and everything else this time of year. For those of us from dysfunctional families, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, along with Hanukkah or anything else we observe (my birthday is in here, 2 weeks before Christmas) were a time of pain, fear and disappointment. We may come from a family where our parents were heavy drinkers, if not alcoholic, and the holiday season provided excuses to indulge more, as well as more often. Maybe our parents were divorced and argued over where and with which parent we were to spend time; maybe they were not divorced and argued, over us and everything else. Or maybe we are from a single parent family and always felt “different’. As we got older, the holidays became a time we found relief in our drug and stayed loaded as much as possible. We temporarily escaped the chaos and dysfunction at home and began creating our own traditions: get as blitzed as possible, obliterate our pain and fill our emptiness. Alcoholics do this with alcohol, druggies pick their drug of choice or whatever they can find, compulsive overeaters use food, anorectics use the control over food, sex addicts use relationships, intrigue, sex and so on. Continue reading

Dr. Dawn’s Rx

Hey Everyone! I get to write to you about alcoholism, addiction and recovery every week for a while. I hope you will write back, comment, share experience, strength and hope, ask questions and most of all get something helpful from my column, Dr. Dawn’s Rx.   I am a medical doctor but any advice I give is not intended to be “official”. I cannot diagnose or treat from this column and I encourage every addict who needs medical care to find a doctor who knows something about addiction and recovery…or is willing to learn. I will respond to inquiries from docs and other health care professionals as well as from the general audience of addicts, their families and friends, and anyone interested in the subject. Continue reading