Depression, suicidal thoughts and alcoholism

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Mental health and addiction recovery

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Dr. Hill openly shares his own story of depression, suicidal thoughts and alcoholism while working in the field of medicine. Now, years into recovery, Dr. Hill shares his experience to help other individuals still suffering. In the midst of a national epidemic of caregiver distress, Dr. Hill reveals a rare, open and honest perspective, which has garnered national/international speaking opportunities and assisted in lifting the veil of secrecy regarding caregiver mental health. Dr. Hill’s voice is leading a cultural revolution for how we approach mental health conditions in the professional workforce.

In his lectures and writings, Dr. Hill shares the lessons learned during the course of his own successful mental health and addiction recovery. On March 23rd, 2017, these lessons were shared in the groundbreaking New England Journal of Medicine Article entitled “Breaking the Stigma: A Physician’s Perspective on Self-Care and Recovery”.

 

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“A pediatric oncologist and palliative care physician, Dr. Adam B. Hill, suffers stress and disillusionment with the culture of medicine, leading to alcoholism, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Then while in recovery, he loses a mentor to suicide, revealing the extent of the burnout epidemic in the medical field. By sharing his harrowing story, Dr. Hill shows how this problem manifests, considers ways to address it, and confronts commonplace attitudes regarding self-care, recovery/treatment, empathy, and vulnerability amongst medical practitioners. His book is a road map for better practices at a time when doctors around the world are struggling in silence. Long Walk Out of the Woods is a game-changing personal narrative and prescriptive book. It expands on Dr. Hill’s famous 2017 essay in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Breaking the Stigma: A Physician’s Perspective on Recovery and Self-Care.”

Dr. Adam Hill is a physician who has a story of overcoming mental health and addiction. Dr. Hill says that he acknowledge that he is a white American upper class citizen now with a professional career.

Dr. Hill creates a lot of blogs and does lectures and some of the frameworks around his lectures he does around the country is trying to create spaces that allow people to know that they are not alone and that they know that it is okay to share their truth of their experience and story and that everyone in recovery is connected by a common thread of our own experiences. He mentions that when physicians do struggle they experience unique stigma and policies around seeking mental health treatment and it does prevent people from seeking help and trying to address those barriers.

Giuseppe mentions a stat that physicians have some of the highest rates of recovery because of the treatment plans that physicians are offered that have either substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder when a physician is struggling with addiction there is a whole process where if you do not stay clean or sober you lose your license and get a through treatment plan.

When Dr. Hill was asked if he could change anything about how Physicians in recovery were viewed and dealt with he said the stigma against physicians in recovery is very strong and others using stigmatizing languages such as calling someone an impaired physician. Dr. Hill mentions how he has been in recovery for 8 years and sober for 5 and a half years and has been labeled an impaired physician and impairment means functionally defective and or under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Dr. Hill wonders how that can attract people to want to self-disclose or seek treatment and find a new life in recovery and not feel judged or stigmatized.

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Personal Addiction Recovery Story

Sam is a woman in Recovery with just under 1 year clean. Sam has a history of being in recovery in the past and relapse became part of her story. Sam is very involved in volunteer work in the community, 12 step fellowship and staying clean.  Hear her story of recovery.

Sam says, “I kind if woke up an addict”. Sam did not realize that her husband at the time and the father of her 3 kids was a bouncer at the bars and he would come home after work in the middle of the night and use crack all night when Sam was sleeping. Sam said she would wake up agitated and anxious and she wouldn’t know why. Sam says she used marijuana and the same paraphernalia she was using to smoke pot her husband would use to feed his crack addiction.

Sam says that she was in an abusive relationship and could not find a way out, she decided to start using with her husband at the time and 17 years of addiction went by and she needed to make change. Sam’s family wanted to make a geographical change for her, so they sent her back to Uganda with her dad where she was born, and her husband and addiction followed her.

Sam and her husband managed up and coming rap stars in Uganda and her husband took a crew of them to Tanzania to do a talk show and overdosed on the trip. He ended up passing away from pneumonia after being overfed by one of the nurses. Sam had to tell her 4, 7 and 11-year-old kids at the time that their Dad had passed away and it was a major shock to them.

Sam said her dad looked at her one day and said “Sam, how can I help you” and she responded by saying “I think I am the one who needs to help myself” she was asked by her dad what she is going to do she responded saying she needs to go to treatment, long term residential treatment for addiction, and she only lived 40 feet away from the center but it took her 17 years to walk through those doors.

When Sam was about 7 and a half years clean her spouse at the time was cheating on her and Sam gave up her whole clean time and her recovery for the way a man was treating her. Sam says coming back this time she knows recovery is the top priority and she knows she needs to stay in the middle, have a sponsor, have friends and make sure she has support if something happens again that devastates her again, so she can stay clean through it.

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Talk Recovery airs live every Thursday at noon on 100.5 FM, Vancouver Coop Radio.   Last Door produces a weekly radio show having having conversations about the many pathways to addiction recovery.  To end stigma we must continue to talk about recovery.  Each week addiction recovery experts from around the world join us for an hour.   Talk Recovery is in its 5th Season, thank you to all our weekly listeners and guests.  Show ideas? email jordanb@lastdoor.org

 

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