Last night, a news report was released about a woman who was arrested on drunk driving and manslaughter charges. That wouldn’t be so unusual, as it happens—tragically—all too frequently. The twist in the story is that the woman was a drug and alcohol counselor at a drug and alcohol treatment center in Torrance.
People sometimes mistakenly believe that just because we have gotten some time under our belts that we are then immune to alcoholism and addiction. If it was that easy, the world would be free of a lot of pain and suffering, especially for the families of both the victim and the perpetrator in this case. Sadly, that is not the case.
As drug and alcohol treatment counselors, we face a double-edged sword every day. On one hand, our lives are focused on recovery 24/7. On the other, though, sometimes we think that this means we don’t have to do as much work for our own program as those who are not counselors, and this can lead down a slippery slope towards relapse.
At the end of the day, we are all just addicts and alcoholics. It is our gift and it is our curse. We are in a unique position to help those who suffer in the same ways that we have, but that does not mean that we are impervious to alcohol from that point on.
For our drug and alcohol treatment center, we have rigorous testing of both clients and staff, as the vast majority of us are addicts and alcoholics ourselves. Hopefully, that helps keep the likelihood of what happened with the counselor from Twin Town from happening at our OC drug rehab. The fact of the matter is, it could happen to anyone.
As we have said before, our cleantime and our sobriety are dependent upon our spiritual relationship with our respective Higher Power. Without the proper maintenance, we are just as likely as anyone—despite all our training and experience—to go back to our old ideas.
That is part of what makes alcoholism so baffling and so powerful. Despite all the self-knowledge, therapy, work, or outward distractions, we are still just as likely as the next drunk or dope fiend to go right back out.
The woman who was arrested is not the first nor the last drug and alcohol treatment worker to go back out and make life a living hell for both others and herself, but today, we send our prayers and condolences to both the family of the victim, the perpetrator, and Twin Town.