I am the “dark and stormy dentist” whose story was told here a couple of years ago. My current “weather” would now be better described as less blustery and mostly sunny, and for this I am exceedingly grateful. Storms may rage around me in many metaphorical ways, but now I live serenely as if in the eye of the storm.
Quite frankly, I consider this a miraculous change. At one time, the time of my active alcoholism, life was full of anxiety, fear, and depression. The future seemed overwhelming, and my way of coping was to quiet the fear with drink. My dark and gloomy disposition was a manifestation of my fear. It simply wasn’t a good way to live. Alcohol created rather than solved my problems. It seems so simple now, but back then it was oh so complicated. I was fortunate to be able to quit drinking, and even more fortunate to have the help I needed to learn how to live in a healthier way. This is the prelude to my praise for DCD — Dentists Concerned for Dentists.
Recovery from an addiction is, succinctly, learning how to truly live as a human being — to become comfortable in one’s own skin. Abstinence from use of alcohol is just one of the first very fragile steps in a program of personal recovery. Fragile, because all too often the temptation is to be self-reliant, to power through things on one’s own, and that just doesn’t work. We need help. I needed help … from my God and from other human beings. That’s what DCD provided — a safe, confidential environment within which recovering dentists could help one another address the challenges of learning how to live as human beings in a very real world.
And so I go to DCD, as well I should, because I don’t want to pass up an opportunity to get help or miss a chance to be of help. I have learned that I needn’t do this on my own, that I can live my life in the camaraderie of others — safe, happy, less blustery, and mostly sunny. If you too would like to experience “a change in the weather”, please consider joining us at one of our monthly meetings. We look forward to sharing our collective good fortunes with you.
Anonymous member of Dentists Concerned for Dentists
Dentists Concerned for Dentists (DCD) is a group of recovering alcoholic and/or chemically dependent dentists concerned about other dentists who might have problems in their relationships with alcohol and/or other mood-altering drugs. Although we receive our funding, for the most part, from the Minnesota Dental Association (MDA), we are a completely separate organization. Our business and clinical processes are supported by The Sand Creek Group, Ltd., a local provider of employee assistance services, and the administrators of the MDA’s Dentist Wellness Program. They answer our phones and provide a consulting psychologist/chemical health specialist, who also functions as a service coordinator for the group. We adhere to a strict code of confidentiality. No information regarding the cases we become involved with is shared with the Minnesota Dental Association or the State Board of Dentistry. There are some cases that come to the attention of the Health Professionals Services Program (HPSP) before we are ever involved, and in those cases, and only with the written consent of the dentist concerned, we will provide limited “progress reports” when requested to do so by HPSP as part of their on-going monitoring program. Our primary purpose is to be available to afflicted dentists, helping them effectively address their alcohol and/or other drug problems, while protecting their anonymity and helping them continue in the practice of professional dentistry. To that end we provide supportive services and educational resources to them, their families, and their colleagues.
For confidential help to address alcohol and/or other drug concerns, please contact Dentists Concerned for Dentists (DCD) at (651) 275-0313 or (800) 632-7643.