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Addiction Is Lonely
This letter is from an addict to those who don't like people with drug addictions. Did you know I am one of the “junkies” you love to bash whenever someone mentions drug addiction or you overhear it in conversation? You probably think I live in an alley? Drug addiction is lonely enough without people like you pointing us out. I know it’s hard to forgive the things we may have done, but please try to understand that drug addiction is a disease.
Here is a question for you: What is the worst thing you have ever done? Obviously, I won’t get an answer to this question but think about it. The one thing only you know of? Something you did that absolutely nobody else has a clue you could do? Well, what if everyone knew about it? What if I told everyone at my job, or posted it online? What if for the rest of your life you were labeled by that one act that if you could, you would erase it...but you can’t!? This is what being an addict is like.
Have I mentioned our addiction is a disease? I don’t feel like being an addict is the worst thing a person can be. You, however, feel like it’s a disgrace. Don’t get me wrong, if I could erase it I would. You would never hear about it again. But, I don’t have that option either. Besides, I can’t even act like you and pretend that my addiction didn’t happen. In order for me to make sure it never happens again, I have to work hard every day. If I don’t, my disease will tell me I can have a drink, or do a line, or maybe even shoot up some heroin. Then my addiction will tell me that I won’t fall into a full-blown addiction. Trust me when I say I will. If I fall again I will fall damn hard. I will likely die.
Let’s go back to your thing you’re hiding! Do you work hard to make sure your worst thing never happens again? You can simply choose to make sure it doesn’t happen right? Let me guess what you are thinking? Addiction is not a disease. It’s a choice right? Yes, all addiction starts with a choice. The same type of choice you made. Yes or No. Right or Wrong. We’re not that different. You drank some beer just like me and maybe we both tried smoking pot. You even tried the same line of coke someone put in front of you at a party. You were able to walk away from it and not take it to the extreme. I on the other hand, couldn’t walk away. I ran towards those drugs right into addiction and it held on tightly. My brain liked the drugs so intensely, it was the right decision to do more. Since I have this disease called addiction, I will spend the rest of my life living with the stigma associated with being a junkie or a drug addict. Society has put an additional label on me as somebody people should stay way from. What a terrific feeling!
Tell me, do you think as a boy I decided to be an addict instead of a police officer or fireman? Sure, we chose to try drugs, but our brains were made in such a way that when it felt the drugs it wanted more. Maybe you can relate to someone who likes to shop all of the time or loves chocolate to the extreme? You may say “but that’s chocolate”! It’s not the chocolate, it’s addiction.
Drug addiction is very lonely despite what you may think. Behind closed doors our smiles disappear and we hide in addiction wondering if we will ever be normal? So when we hear statements about how people with addictions are bad people, we know it's us you are talking about. We pretend not to hear you but we do. We hear every single word. We’re not proud being addicted to drugs. We are still the same people who want to be married, have a house with a dog, everything other people desire. We know that our dreams while in addiction, will never come true. We have learned that while we were once addicted to a life of needing drugs. We are now living a life not needing to have drugs.
Earlier, I mentioned a boy growing up like a policeman? When is the last time you talked to a little girl who told you she couldn’t wait to grow up so she could be an addict, and sell herself to feed her addiction? Nobody wants to have a substance use disorder. Some of us are born with it. Don’t forget, you made those same choices at the party too? You just got lucky it was me and not you.
I pray that you never find out you have a family member is an addict. If you do, just know that we will accept both of you. We will help you both. Why? Because we are good people who are no different than you. We just understand the truth more clearly right now. We want the chance to live like everyone else. So please, before you write another letter or post something online, understand there are people who are suffering with addictions. Not only are you hurting the people who have this disease, you could be hurting everyone that loves them too. You never know who might have an addiction of their own they haven’t found out about yet. It might even be you.
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