In Addiction, Knowledge is Not Always Power

October 17, 2016   Patricia Pavkovich

“Aunt Patty, my mom's dead, she's gone.” It was 5:30 PM on November 12, 2013. My younger sister had passed away unexpectedly from esophageal varices, a complication from excessive drinking. It had caused a rupture of a blood vessel resulting in a hemorrhage which was fatal. She was 54 years old and left behind two daughters in their 20's.

My sister was not the only one affected by addiction in my family. My mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia in her late 70's due to excessive drinking and smoking. After I took care of her for 4 years, it was necessary to place her in a memory care facility this past May. I have another family member who drinks to excess. Last month someone posted a video of him jumping off a pier into waters teaming with bull sharks. These sharks are listed as one of the three most dangerous species of sharks in the world. In the background of the video you can hear his "friends" cheering him on. Not a single person among them protested what he was about to do, or even suggest that MAYBE it was not such a great idea. Of course, when everyone was partying and drinking all day, it made perfect sense why they did not try to stop him. The shark went straight for him and darted away at the last second.

I also have the memory of sitting with my uncle in the hospital one New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve is usually a happy occasion, or at least a reflective one for some. I was holding his hand and telling him I loved him. He could not answer me because he was in a coma from falling down the stairs and splitting his head open when he was drunk. He never woke up. I could continue with other family members and friends who have lost their lives, or have been seriously affected by drugs and alcohol. There have been numerous such people and experiences in my life.

These were unnecessary, preventable losses that have caused grief, pain, and robbed us of time that could have been spent with loved ones.

You would think with all of these personal experiences and losses that I would have had a good reason to avoid drugs and alcohol. You Would think studying and working in the medical field for 35 years would have helped too. I knew all the detrimental effects of alcohol and many times I wished that it was enough, but it wasn’t. I continued to drink.

What this alcoholic has learned is that someone can have all the knowledge and life experiences in the world, and it does not make one bit of difference. When addiction takes hold of you, none of that stuff matters. The ONLY thing that does matters is when is your next drink, or when is your next drug. Addiction grabs hold and it won't let go. Addiction sends you down a path of self-destruction. That destruction is physical, emotional, intellectual, mental, and spiritual.

This is just a fraction of what addiction can gift you with: brain damage, memory loss, accidental death, heart damage, liver damage, pancreatitis, diabetes, depression, gastritis, suppressed immune system, decreased sexual performance, malnutrition, anxiety, cancer, and mental health issues.

Addiction affects our spirit. Selfishness, alienation, remorse, shame, a pervasive sense of meaninglessness of life, depression, shame, negativity, and hopelessness.

Recovery from alcoholism is multi-dimensional. But it IS possible and there IS a solution. There is a large active recovery family out there that you can belong to, and who are waiting to welcome you and be willing to work with them. I emphasize the word ACTIVE. Recovery is an active program. It requires you to move to action to make it effective in your life. When you incorporate this family into your life, your spirit will begin to come alive and will shine brightly. You will become conscious to a new way of life that gifts you with clarity and insight for yourself and others in your life.

Your recovery family and your blossoming spirit will lead you to compassion, forgiveness, and to the service of others. Through your experience, strength, and hope you can heal yourself and heal those around you. It will lead you out of the despair, pain, and hopelessness of addiction to the best version of yourself. You are so deserving of this love and connection.

Please remember this: addiction does not care how young, old, rich, poor, color, or gender you only pays attention to how quickly or slowly it will destroy your life and those you love.


Patricia V. Pavkovich works for MAP Health Management as a RSS coordinator, Recovery Support for Origins /Hanley in West Palm Beach, Florida and South Padre Island, Texas. Patricia has a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Health Education and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. She has two daughters. Patricia ran the Marine Corp Marathon, is a yoga instructor, and enjoys riding her Harley in her spare time. Sober date is March 14, 2014.

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