In light of all the nasty comments I keep reading surrounding the heroin epidemic, these are my thoughts.
If a diabetic goes on a sugar binge, then gets in the car, goes into a sugar coma, and crashes, will you just let him die? It was, after all, his fault for eating sugar. Same with the person texting and driving. Will you let them die, because they made a bad choice, knowing it was dangerous to themselves and others.
It’s easy to stay separate until it affects you and your family. Likewise it is easy to become cold and distance yourself if you have been hurt by a loved one who is an addict. But if you’re not apart of the solution than you are part of the problem.
Rehab is not enough. Taking away the drug or drink is not enough. You don’t become an addict in 28 days, you don’t get well in 28 days. The drug may cause problems, but removing it alone won’t fix it. Just like removing guns won’t stop violence.
Simply because the act of using is a symptom of something much deeper. Something gone very wrong in the heart of the individual. Just like something has gone very wrong in the heart of a teenager who chooses to shoot up his school.
And before someone says it’s not the same thing, I realize that. But it does boil down to an issue much deeper than the act of getting high. Some people can go and drink a beer or two. And some cant. No two people are the same. What works for one might not work for the next.
A very high percentage of addicts suffered some type of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse that was never dealt with. Others became addicted due to pain meds, and yet others simply started out by partying on the weekends and it was out of control before they knew it. You can never pinpoint the exact cause for everyone.
That being said, rehab is a good place to start. Let the mind clear, and then you have a starting point. Typically the emotional maturity of an individual stops when the using of drugs starts. So if the 30 year old addict started using at 15, when she suddenly gets clean, she is left with the coping skills and emotions of a 15 year old, and without the buffer of drugs. She needs the support services and help to learn how to handle emotions, the ups and downs of every day life, how to hold a job, manage money, keep a schedule, even how to just sit and be still, and though it may sound silly, how to be bored. Being still is something I struggled (and still do) with. After years of running constantly to get my fix, I didn’t know what to do with my time. Even with almost 5 years clean, sometimes it’s hard for me to be bored. Also, most addicts thrive when they are able to help someone. When they fill the hole inside with being a support to others, to building someone else up. That is why AA and NA have sponsors. And the addict has to learn how to build a support system that will last a lifetime. Addiction is something that never goes away, you can be clean for years, but you can never stop fighting to keep it that way. Occasionally you may hear a story of someone who was addicted and was able to just put it down and walk away. But for most that doesn’t work.
Contrary to popular belief, an addict doesn’t see life as one big party. The life of an addict is literal hell. And they can’t get out alone. Each time I see a news report about another life lost to addiction, another family with out a mother, another mother who lost their child, it hurts me. I take it personal, because it is personal. My heart breaks a little bit more for each of them and their families. And when I read the hateful comments, I am tempted to hide my own story to save myself from the anger and the nasty comments. Instead, I try to continually humble myself, sharing my story, not because I want glory for my sobriety, but because talking helps keep ME sober, and because I pray that maybe someone struggling will come across my story on social media or on my blog, and just maybe it will give them hope. There IS a way out, there can be peace, and his name is Jesus.
Not for a moment can I, or anyone else in recovery from drugs and alcohol, forget. Not for a single moment do we stop fighting for our sobriety, for our very lives. Not even in sleep do we stop fighting. I still have what I have heard called drug dreams, insanely vivid and disturbing dreams where I am using drugs, and even in those dreams I fight. I wake up sweaty and shaking, and sometimes even feeling a little bit of the euphoria that drugs used to give me. It terrifies me. But it’s truth.
Wake up World… Addiction is not going away. You can not just sweep it under the rug. And no amount of hate and nasty comments are going to help.