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Doctor, heal thyself

When Dr. Scott M. Davis was 31 years old he lost half of himself. His twin brother, Jonathan, died of…

By Rosemary Keevil-Fairburn , in Blogs Busted and Booked , on January 30, 2009 Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

When Dr. Scott M. Davis was 31 years old he lost half of himself. His twin brother, Jonathan, died of AIDS. Dr. Davis was so grief stricken he could not grieve. Instead he numbed himself with sedatives which were at the ready. He started having the chronic pains that his brother suffered in his illness. No medical experts could explain. They gave Dr. Davis narcotics.

Eventually he found himself living the life that Jonathan was living when he was dying; isolated, racked with chronic pain and addicted to prescription drugs. As the result of an intervention Dr. Davis was forced to quit. Then he was forced to grieve. His self-destruction was all about burying profoundly powerful sadness that he had not been ready to face.

Dr. Davis got well, became a nationally renowned addiction medical expert and wrote a book about it, claimed by The New York Times Book Review to be “an eye-opening look into the hidden world of America’s drug problem.”

Living Jonathan’s Life: A Doctor’s Descent into Darkness and Addiction looks like a tender and dramatic read. It is also a valuable resource. What Dr. Davis makes perfectly clear is this: in order to recover from substance addiction (alcohol, street drugs or pills) one simply must face feelings, live feelings, embrace feelings… actually feel feelings.

I have not had a chance to finish reading Living Jonathan’s Life but it has already helped me. I too lost what felt like my other half. I too could not handle it. I too self-destructed. I too got better. I too faced and continue to face and feel my feelings full on, as best I can. I too want to help people addicted to substances, but I will not be able to reach people the way Dr. Scott Davis does.

He: is the only full-time addiction medicine physician at the Betty Ford Treatment Centre; developed a nationally accepted model for treating opiate addicts; acts as a consultant for institutions such as the US Justice Department and Centre for Subtance Abuse; and has written this eloquent and heart wrenching book.

In Living Jonathan’s Life Dr. Davis has exposed the skeletons in his closet, let the demons out for all to see and having done that, he has granted permission to others to do the same. It does help for people suffering from addiction issues to witness the descent into darkness and recovery of someone as well respected as Dr. Scott M. Davis.

The last half of the book is an appendix of resources including: a glossary of alcohol, addiction and treatment centre/rehab terms; an extensive list of US treatment centres; types of intervention; a self-assessment questionnaire and the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

You can find it in the Addiction and Recovery section of the book store.