Pubdate: Tue, 12 Feb 2008
Source: Times-Tribune, The (Scranton PA)
Contact:  2008
Author: Gerald A. Solfanelli


Editor: In response to your recent series of articles on addiction: The
negative impact of abuse, which originates with the addict, slowly
permeates into his or her family and ultimately throughout the
community. Efforts to educate our communities regarding these
consequences are critical in initiating positive change.

The tangible losses associated with addiction are often readily
apparent. Crime and the eventual losses of health, jobs, family,
friends and money are only the manifestations of a more intangible
loss, which is likely the real culprit behind abuse: loss of one's
self through the insidious and consistent detachment of one's feelings
through addiction.

Feelings serve the useful purpose of guiding one in better
understanding oneself. The avoidance of feelings (particularly through
addiction) robs oneself of the valuable, directional information that
feelings can afford. A "gut instinct," for example, can be viewed as a
crystallization of all of one's life experiences into a single guiding
feeling. Nobody can be consciously aware of every life experience, as
it may relate to a presenting concern. One can, however, benefit from
one's guiding feeling.

Addiction has the real potential to dull this and other types of
valuable feelings, which can ultimately further alienate the addict
from himself or herself and others, leading to confusion, poor
direction and despair. This cycle can continue to create a pattern
that can lead to the more tangible aforementioned losses. Education
(whether through the media, therapy or the like) is key to breaking
this pattern and changing ultimate despair into real hope for the future.

Gerald A. Solfanelli,


- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek