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I know, I'm just another person writing about something I've "never experienced" to seem like I'm up to date on current issues. But here's the thing, I'm not.
I know what addiction feels like.
I know what it feels like to not be able to go a a day, hell, even a few hours without craving that feeling. The feeling of relief. When it hits your brain and you can actually almost feel the weight being lifted off your chest. You feel like your lungs are opening for the first time and you can breathe.
I'll admit, I've never faced an addiction to drugs or prescription drugs, my "drug" of choice was cutting myself daily. All the nights (and sometimes days) where I would sit in my room and just make line after line, just to have the fleeting moments of relief. Then, the few lines weren't enough, I had to get more out of each cut. So they started getting deeper, and deeper...and deeper.
I was a volleyball player in high school, so while I cut myself every single day, many people didn't know because my cuts weren't in the "obvious" place (the writs/arms). I chose to cut my stomach and legs (two problem areas for my self-esteem).
One night I went so deep that the white, fatty part of my muscle was on display for me. I feel so deep into a hole, I thought I would never see the light again. Everyday I would anxiously wait until I could go into bed and grab my razor just to feel relief. The addiction grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go.
For so many people, that's what addiction is. It grabs you by the throat, and it violently shakes you until you have no idea how to get back to normal. You do anything just to get that feeling of calmness, of relief. You'll do whatever it takes just to feel normal, and too often, people have their lives cut short seeking this feeling.
In his 2016 single "Drug Dealer" Macklemore speaks about his own addiction, how the current opioid crisis may be a bigger feat than just telling people to stop doing heroin, and losing people to addiction. One of the (many) lines that hit me was "Now it's everybody's problem, got a nation on the verge."
If that isn't one of the truest pieces of this song, I don't know what else is. This isn't the first time Macklemore has spoken out about addiction. His 2010 song "Otherside" and 2012's "Starting Over" shed a light on a crisis that has cast it's shadow over America long before the term "Opioid Epidemic" was coined.
He's remembered for the catchy lyrics of "Thrift Shop" but in my opinion, this is why this man needs recognition. To be able to speak so freely about addiction and losing someone you love, to admit your imperfections during a discussion of an AA meeting, to the struggle of guilt when a fan stops you to tell you that you inspire them right after you relapsed is amazing.
Along with Demi Lovato, he inspired me to talk more openly about my own addiction with cutting, these songs have carried me through some rough nights, and have opened my eyes to how badly the public needs to be educated on what addiction really is.
While it may not seem like the "right" thing to do when addicts mug shots are plastered all over social media, or when we hear a(nother) story about parents overdosing while their child sits alone screaming in the back seat; but it can actually help a lot of people.
It helps to raise awareness, and yeah, it's not pretty, but neither is addiction. By sharing these posts, we're showing people the ugly truth to what it's like to live with an addiction to something, be it a drug, alcohol, or inflicting pain on your body. To hide these people away and try to cover up their struggles is silencing their story.
It's not helping anyone to invalidate their hardships and to deny them the chance to have someone give them help and support. It's time we stop trying to be so censored and start fighting for people to get the help they desperately need.