Most people either know someone, are related to or are an addict Addicts...Wow, what a stigma. What do you think when you hear that word? A poor person living in the inner city, full of crime, maybe even on the street? Dirty needles and drug paraphernalia? Someone you wouldn't give the time of day for? Well, I would like to open you eyes by the end of this post. Addiction is a disease many people live with. There is no know cure for this disease, only a chance of remission/recovery. The disease itself will never go away. But as addicts we have a chance of living a normal productive life as a contributing member of society.
The first thing I'd like to talk about is addiction as a disease. Once an addict, always an addict...BUT that does NOT mean we must be active addicts. addiction can be put into remission and we CAN recover.
The second thing I'd like to talk about, is this disease cares nothing about color, social status or financial wealth. Addictions come in many forms. From workaholics, to food addicts, to drug addicts and alcoholics.
The third is the stigma..Addicts are liars, cheaters and flat out "BAD" people.
First of all, addiction is a disease I know all too well about. From immediate family to myself. Addiction doesn't have a face. It doesn't care about you high class neighborhood with your exclusive friends. It can attack the upper class man with the beautiful wife, house, kids, perfect life, right? Until he begins to hires an escort on the side because he is addicted to sex. Food is an addiction, work, exercise, dieting. Anything that can be done in excess. An addict's brain takes everything to excess. For instance me. Sure, I can get hooked on illegal substances in the blink of an eye. But my disease is much more than an addiction to one substance, or one area. My disease will show up in all areas of my life. For example, I could work real hard not to use any illegal substances. And that may work for a while. But the root of my disease....I have a void, a dis-ease in my life. And this is NOT something that can be fixed externally. This is a problem I have inside of me. A problem only I can fix. Not a new boyfriend, not a great job with great pay. Not shopping, Not sex. I've learned, using drugs is only a SYMPTOM of my disease. The disease will tell me to do anything and everything I can think of to take myself "Outside" of myself. Plain and simple...I am unhappy with me. Not my boyfriend, not my job, not anything but me. And I've come to realize, once I put down the drug...which was numbing my pain from this void, I start to feel intensely, all the pain, hurt, guilt and shame from me using. And it hits me all at once. So, if I am not starting to work on myself at this early stage, or at least learn AND USE coping mechanisms for Life on Life's Terms, the end result will ALWAYS be a chemical relapse. Maybe at first, I might use shopping or sex, but eventually THAT will weigh on my conscience and I'll want to numb my feelings and emotions.....so I go back to the only thing I know that works....DRUGS. Now....on the flip side. A RECOVERING ADDICT. One who is living right, working on themselves (with a mentor-not alone), well....this scenario I just painted could very possibly end different. Coping skills are huge in recovery. Addicts (I) use because I can not do what everyone else seems to be able to do.... handle Life on Life's Terms. Something everyone else seems to do easily too. What happens with an Addict, (besides the genetic aspect,) at an early age there is usually some type of trauma we never learned to work through. From Parental divorce, to death, to abuse. Even witnessing abuse. We think we were too small to remember or have it affect us. we don't get the proper help, and we self medicate. No one says "I wanted to be an addict when I grow up".
This disease does not care if you are White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, male, female, transgender, straight, gay, bi, transsexual, rich, poor, from the Upper East or Lower West. GOT IT? This is a human disease, again, for which there is NO KNOWN CURE, only the chance of recovery. We will always have the disease of addictions, but remission is possible. There is no vaccine. DO NOT think you are immune. It's cunning and baffling and will sneak up when you least expect.
We are very intelligent people. We figure out our issue (pain) and we learn how to make ourselves feel better. Self medicate. We are resourceful people and extremely talented. We are very creative too. Imagine if we put all of our energy, ways to make money and living off of nothing, and all our desires, in to something good instead of something negative. we'd change the world! We are kind hearted and compassionate people. We DO make bad choices, but most of those bad choices are a result of our disease, not who we really are.
If you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to post. Being an addict has given me the amazing gift of an open mind. I take criticism well (I'm not a push over, I will stand up for myself). But I would love to hear your thoughts, wheather you agree or disagree. Thanks!