A few years ago I shared with Northwest Dentistry’s readers a short version of my struggle with addiction and how Dentists Concerned for Dentists (DCD) helped me in my recovery. Following on that, the next question is: What happens once you get into recovery? Well, I have now been clean and sober for more than eight years, and I am really surprised by how much my life continues to improve. When I was at the worst point in my drug use, I didn’t think I could live without taking or using something to make me feel better (or different) when I was unhappy. Unfortunately, I was unhappy a lot, so I had to “escape” my unhappy life by using drugs pretty much all the time. Now that I’m sober, you may ask, am I back to frequently being unhappy?
Actually, no. I have found that life can be great, as long as I accept that I am not in control of the people and things around me, and that I’m okay just as I am. This is a simple definition of my vision of peace and serenity, and I love it! These are gifts that I have received from other recovering people, like my fellow members of DCD. The miracles of recovery happen when we can allow ourselves to ask for and accept help from others. This is a tough thing for people like we dentists, who tend to be pretty controlling and self-sufficient. However, to gain the benefits of what we call “recovery”, we must be able to ask for help. We must also be willing to then share what we have gained - with others who need help.
Research tells us that roughly one in seven to one in ten of you reading this will struggle with addiction during your lifetime. Trust us, you can’t manage this alone. Those of us in DCD are not just willing to help, we are anxious to help, because it is also good for us. If you or someone you know is struggling, make the call and let us help you start the process of getting back to a happier and more peaceful life. Addiction is defined by chaos, and recovery is the pathway to peace.
One of the biggest fears about asking for help with an addiction is the concern that one will be judged. Please remember that all of us in DCD have “been there” and understand your feelings of fear, hopelessness, and despair. The difference is that we now know that things aren’t really hopeless and that there really is a pathway back. It may seem hopeless but it’s not, and there are a bunch of us out here who will attest to the fact that “life after” can be truly wonderful.
Anonymous DCD Member
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 moodaltering 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. You can also visit our website at www.dcdmn.com