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May 3, 1985

Rx for Addiction: A Doctor's Story of His Battle With Drugs

Author Affiliations

Glenbeigh Adolescent Hospital Cleveland

JAMA. 1985;253(17):2586-2587. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350410152044

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It has been said that to experience chemical dependency is to be on an elevator that only goes down. Precious few ever get off. The vast majority of alcoholics and drug addicts die prematurely as a consequence of their addiction. What makes chemical dependency a uniquely devastating illness is that the affected person not only suffers physically, but is morally, emotionally, and spiritually sick as well. Family and friends often become codependents and suffer, too.

W. Rogert Gehring, MD, was a practicing obstetrician and, for most of his adult life, also a practicing alcoholic and drug addict. In his book Rx for Addiction, Gehring bravely recounts his painful journey from being a young, well-trained specialist in obstetrics-gynecology to becoming, in the words of Melville, "an undraped spectacle... a valor-ruined man," a man who lived only to drink and take drugs.

Denial is the one ingredient of the disease of chemical