“There’s something about addiction. When it’s about the people we care about we call it an illness. When it’s about someone we don’t know, we just look at them like criminals. I’m supposed to know it’s always the former. WE have a disease. But, it’s a disease we can treat. That’s my 5 year NA chip. I’m more proud of that than my MD. I want you to have it.” ~ Dr. Savetti, Code Black – The Same as Air
This heartfelt line by Dr. Savetti comes after, earlier in the episode, he chastised a patient who came in seeking narcotics. Prior to this line, he had not revealed that he also struggled with addiction. He has a really good point that we often think of mental illness/substance abuse differently when it is someone we love versus someone we don’t know. Furthermore, as he says, doctors are supposed to remember that mental illness and drug addiction and illnesses. This is definitely not always the case. I have had several doctors tell me that I should “know better” when it comes to the eating disorder, as if it was a simple choice just to eat or not.
I can also relate to what he says about his NA chip. Recovery has proven to me to be far more difficult than medical or graduate school. I have heard others in recovery also say it’s the hardest thing they have ever done.