Phrasing the question that became the title of this contribution took some time and consideration. Do I belong in DCD? Do I belong with DCD? Deciding on “Do I belong to DCD?” was a process and a choice that came from years of struggle as well as the months of my new beginning.
To answer the question once I had decided upon its character, I had to first ask myself, “What is this program about? What goes on in these rooms?” When I first considered joining DCD, I was very skeptical and rebellious. In my mind, I was different. I had a different cultural, social, economic, and religious background. I was kicking and screaming like a little child when I came through these doors. It amazes me now that only a few months into this program I can very comfortably use the pronoun “WE”.
WE are a group of dentists like you or your loved one (if you are a concerned other). We meet periodically and communicate often. We open up to each other easily. We talk freely and fearlessly. We don’t judge or hold back. Why would we? We all have done that, been there. This is because WE happen to be sharing a few things other than being dentists. WE all have a relationship with alcohol and drugs that is — let’s just say — not perfect. And most probably you, or your loved one, shares the same problem since you were curious nough to stop on this page and are still reading.
We also, for a variety of reasons, would like to end this unhealthy relationship with alcohol and drugs. WE are not perfect. We are, in fact, full of character defects. Now I can speak endlessly about the character defects that attributed to my own substance abuse as well as about other character defects that resulted from my substance abuse. My reliance on mood-altering substances both resulted from and was a cause of underlying bigger problems of which I was never aware before I joined this program.
At times I was successful in staying abstinent from all mood-altering substances for long periods, but I was never “sober” as I understand sobriety now. The character defects that both caused and resulted from my substance abuse never went away during those periods of abstinence. My challenge in this program was and still is to identify and overcome my character defects, to change my whole outlook on life, or, in other words, to strive to be “as fine a specimen of manhood as one would wish to meet”, as described in AA literature. And with that came the freedom and contentment that I would not trade for any substance. Just imagine, for example, being obsessed with a fruit to which you are extremely allergic, like a strawberry. In this program I found that life is full of fruits and vegetables that are not strawberries. I personally believe now that I belonged to and in this program since my early childhood, for I was restless, irritable, and discontented, to name a few of the character issues that have followed me from that time. This “life problem” is what I sought a solution for in the Dentists Concerned for Dentists program. And I have discovered that abstinence from mood-altering substances is but the smallest slice of the “big pie” of recovery. Indeed, this discovery is what the program is about!
Socrates once said, “A life unexamined is not worth living”. So if you or your loved one could benefit from a comprehensive life examination, I cannot encourage you enough to pick up the phone and join us. WE offer more than welcome, and it could change your life.
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. You can also visit our website at www.dcdmn.com