Page 20 - 2017 Autumn-Winter Issue
P. 20

© weise_maxim/

                                Stuck Places: Is Secondary Gain
                                Snagging You?

                                by Barbara Allen

                                When asked what I do, I’m about to shock yet another          different modalities that were providing us hope. We were
                                person. My answer these days is, “I specialize in the world   then tossed from the group as our health improved.
                                of death and drugs.” After reviving the person who asked,
                                I explain the losses that brought me to The Compassionate     Another friend, Tim, introduced me to the concept of
                                Friends. Quickly I add how finding TCF allowed me to          secondary gain. He suffers a degenerative disorder and
                                evolve into advocacy to educate and save the lives of others  is my hero for all things related to disability. When first
                                dealing with the disease of addiction. Should I change my     experiencing onset of symptoms, Tim went to a martial arts
                                response? Not going to happen – I’ve become an advocate       studio asking to be taught how to fall. When he became
                                for bereavement and substance use disorder issues. A bit of   scooter bound, he got a local engineering class to modify
                                gentle shock opens doors slammed shut by mindlessness.        his lawn mower so he could take care of the grass. This
                                                                                              meant he could also walk his huge dog. Always looking for
                                Recently I was asked two very different questions which       ways to cope, Tim often had wisdom to offer. His sister, with
                                got me thinking about the topic of secondary gain. I first    the same disease and much younger, chose to collapse into
                                learned about this concept when I was suffering from a        the disease.
                                collapsed immune system. My friend, Bruce and I were part
                                of a support group. We kept looking for healing options.      Tim was still working and having a full life. Darla sat
                                Others, instead, were adding to the list of their diagnoses.  isolated at home. Dependent on others for food and
                                Bruce was formerly a successful banker now struggling to      ultimately self-care, she chose the path of secondary gain.
                                pay his mortgage. I had my own financial issues fighting      Always angry at being slighted by life, she demanded others
                                insurance denials. After some time, each of us found          care for her. She assumed support would come in financial

                                2 0 |We Need Not Walk Alone
   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25