I want to talk about addiction.
I’m not sure how to go about that without sounding callous.
Addiction sucks. It sucks for the community. It sucks for the family. It sucks for the person. Just downright blows.
The other day, I overheard a friend talking about their family member who is off the wagon. And while the decisions their sibling had made were terrible, I wanted so badly to step in. I wanted to scream that addiction wasn’t about them.
Yeah, people are caught in the crossfire. They are hurt and sometimes killed. It’s not okay. But I doubt the average person understands what it’s like to have your life ruled by a substance.
The poor decisions and the pain caused to love ones are rarely about others. It’s about them. Addicts are self-centered. How else would an individual sacrifice just about anything for a high?
So, quit it. Your cousin that causes your aunt so much pain isn’t doing it maliciously. The stealing and the lying aren’t because they hate the world. Chances are, it’s because those are the means in which to reach a high. Because that’s the goal. We want to feel something else.
I want to feel something else.
For me, it was alcohol. I struggled. I rationalized the shit out of my drinking.
“Oh, it’s okay. It’s after 5pm.”
“Oh, it’s okay. It’s the weekend.”
“Oh, it’s okay. Today was Monday… Wednesday… Thirsty Thursday… Finally Friday. Better tie one on.”
“Oh, it’s okay. It’s summer!”
“Oh, it’s okay. I’m young; I’m supposed to do this.”
“Oh, it’s okay. It’s only 3pm.”
“Oh, it’s okay. It’s after noon.”
“Oh, it’s okay… it’s almost noon.”
And then there’s actually getting my hands on it.
Normal, happy, healthy people don’t spend extended periods of time in the liquor store deciding on what wine to get. Well, they don’t spend that time checking the alcohol content on the bottles to figure out which wine will get me more drunk for less money.
Normal, happy, healthy people don’t start freaking out when the alcohol is getting low. They don’t consider driving 45 minutes to the nearest store that sells off sale after 10pm.
Normal, happy, healthy people don’t do that. They don’t.
And it’s impossible to explain to someone just how mindless an addict feels.
How you spend SO much time during the day thinking about your next high or your last one.
How you might now have any money, but you certainly can find enough to purchase your vice.
How you once said that you would never be in this position, but here you are. And you don’t know how you got so low.
I am frustrated.
I am frustrated as I listen to people discuss addiction, especially when they have never encountered it personally. I am frustrated as people look so far down on addicts.
It’s so easy to categorize people as good and bad. But honestly, some of the best people I know are addicts.
Chances are, there is more to their story.
Chances are, there is some sort of trauma—physical, psychological, or otherwise—that somehow brought them here.
Chances are, this is all they have ever known.
Everybody is fighting something. Some demons are easier too see.
Mine comes in a bottle.
But yours might be your own shadow.