Essay on 4/23/14
What I Have Learned in the HAM Program and the High Gain Project
By Dr OLGA ANDREI
In this essay I am comparing the four approaches to recovery form alcoholism, approaches that I have been living, and highlight what does each do: one is the Hospital experience (Cedars Sinai Hospital), the second is the Morgue experience, the High Gain Project, and finally the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
I have learned from all of them on how alcoholism must be viewed from all of these vantage points, as we all seek to find a solution to the terrible societal problems caused by the excessive use of alcohol and other drugs. I have learned how to drive sober and have a meaningful life.
I first thought the Hospital experience was excellent, as we were exposed to the brain biochemistry of neuro-transmitters as Glutamine and Gaba. These two major neurotransmitters get more affected by alcohol use, and over-abundance of Gaba will slow our motor abilities, when drinking too much. The consequences were horrific, and the Nurse, Troy, aptly demonstrated how these were linked to alcohol and drugs usage.
The second Program, the Morgue, at first I thought it was highly objectionable because of the way corpses were handled and treated, blood was spilled at my feet. The smell was overwhelming and I was in complete shock for two days after viewing the scene at the Morgue. I now realize that I was privileged to be able to see the reality of the autopsy: it actually introduced me to the idea of Glutamine and Gaba balance.
The Nurse Troy (Hospital Program) has introduced me to the bio-chemical system in the human body and the consequences of a speeding automotive impact if belts were not used for safety.
The High Gain Project I attend every week (group and private meeting with Sarah Wisdom,) is highly disciplining, and uses substitution of activities and talks on major topics in our lives, like why are we drinking, and how to change this dynamic, substitute that time with a more useful program, like analyzing our usefulness to society. I especially appreciated Dennis Kenmore’s interesting explanation on how power and control drives us to do the wrong things in life, especially when we should DRIVE Sober, and have a meaningful life. The High Gain Project is a boot camp in acknowledging the damages of drugs and alcohol in the human body, via interactive discussions and media.
The 100 + Alcoholic Anonymous meeting creates a non-alcoholic social group where all addicts share their experiences in trying to stay sober. The AA people are in a sense wrong to encourage any consumption of alcohol at all. They are teaching us that we are forever alcoholics. I personally consider myself an alcoholic in long-term recovery, which is not the same thing the fellowship, is talking about.
In these programs I have learned how to be responsible for my actions, be of service and be dependable. I also have a daily blog on the national Movement against alcohol and drugs on http://olgalazin.wordpress.com a Blog dedicated to eradicate this societal problem.
In Conclusion, drawing from these four vantage points, I can clearly see a fifth path, or approach, based on preventive nutrition.
Rationality does not exist for the alcoholic, as one thimble of alcoholic drink can twist the alcoholic’s brain. No program alone can solve this problem, but 4 or five approaches put together would really help us solve this long-term mental health disease. I think that alcohol is a chemical neurotransmitter, and it should be banned.