Patrick Cosgrove is a husband of father of 2. He’s on a leadership team of healthcare performance organization, Vizient Inc. as the Associate Vice President, Enterprise Clients. He has been in active recovery from drug and alcohol addiction for 25 consecutive years. He pays it forward by mentoring men who are also in recovery from various addictions.
Clancy asked Pat to join the show because some people have questioned Clancy’s perception of addiction in the food insecurity arena. She wanted Pat, a close friend and recovering addict, to challenge her perception.
Many people grow up with the belief that no one else has ever encountered what they are facing, so no one can understand what they’re going through. This idea is known as “terminal uniqueness”. It can cause you to feel less than. This is where Pat’s alcoholism stemmed from.
Stereotypes can be harmful. Addicts come in all shapes and sizes, with various backgrounds, can be rich or poor, and are all in unique family situations. They don’t always fit the stereotype of being on the streets, in a trench coat, holding a paper bag full of liquor.
She wants to challenge her perceptions, misconceptions, and judgements. Because guess what? She judges. The fact is, we all judge. The question becomes, what do we do with that judgement? Do we carry it with us, or do we take a step back to learn about and explore it?
Alcoholism is the only disease that is not only challenging to diagnose beyond elevated liver enzymes, but it’s often self-diagnosed. It can be tricky for an onlooker to identify. Two things must be present when classifying someone as an alcoholic: 1) blackouts or lapses in memory and 2) family members who notice a person’s drinking habits. That’s because alcoholics are often in denial about their behaviors.
Genetic predisposition, the impact of chemical influences and perceptions of the world differ for addicts compared to “normal people”, whether their using or not.