Friday, February 24, 2012


An elegant looking, well-dressed woman in a designer suit and handbag that cost more than most people's weekly salary, came to see me the other day. She wanted to 'interview' me to see if the treatment my staff and I could provide for her young daughter was up to speed. Her husband had already called and asked about our credentials, years of experience and schools. So this was the in-person visit.

Her daughter was not present. She was at home where she stayed while in the midst of a Percocet-heroin run. Her mother proceeded to tell me that the 17-year old was not like those 'other people' who came to us for treatment. She was not 'that kind of person'; she was from a 'good' home. And could we treat the daughter at home so that she did not have to come in contact with any of the types the mother had seen in our waiting room.

It takes a lot of restraint not to say what is close to the tip of my tongue when folks take such an elitist stance about addiction and treatment. It is an equal opportunity disorder. Addiction knows nothing about socio-economics, or skin color or age. Treatment is not dependent upon the price of a designer bag or the education level of the parents. It is a condition. It can happen to anyone. It is treatable.

As for the therapy most of us in this profession provide, it is not dependent upon the patient's income. It is dependent upon the patient's needs. We work hard regardless of who the patient is or where they come from in an effort to promote wellness - it's that simple.


Unknown said...

Until that woman realize that addiction affects every walk of life (let's take someone with money like Whitney Houston vs a homeless man begging for money on Plymouth Ave in Fall River), she will not be able to help her daughter through the process. Although I consider myself blessed to not have to struggle through an addiction, I've seen what it takes for someone to overcome it - you have to strip yourself of any pretenses you're trying to hide behind, and true recovery is raw and honest. Hopefully the mom will some day understand that and face it. Sad - very sad.

Dr. Alicen said...

Thank you for that true-to-life comment. I only wish more people had the understanding and insight about the recovery process as you have. Addiction knows nothing about socio-economic status, age or gender. It is pervasive and painful to the addicted as well as the friends and family around them. Willingness to get better, a strong support system, honesty, spirituality, mindfulness,patience with the raw nature of the process and a gentle guide are the keys.