To The Girl Asking Us To "Stop Calling Your Drug Addiction A Disease," Please Stop

To The Girl Asking Us To "Stop Calling Your Drug Addiction A Disease," Please Stop

That's not how that works.
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I recently came across an article titled Stop Calling Your Drug Addiction A Disease, and I was struggling to see eye-to-eye with the writer and her stance on addicts’ so-called “you chose it” conditions.

I'd like to think that I am fairly open-minded and accepting of differing opinions, but I disagree with the vast majority of what she had to say.

Not only is it incredibly offensive, but it demonstrates her apparent lack of knowledge regarding addiction and its everlasting effects on all parties involved. I would like to instead educate people on how addiction is, in fact, a disease, and that there is much more to the story than many of us realize.

First things first, addiction is a disease. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the definition of drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.

Once a person becomes tolerant of his or her drug of choice, it becomes seemingly impossible to break the habit. Withdrawal is a scary reality for addicts, as symptoms can include things such as excruciating pain, insomnia, and emotional detachment. The physiological consequences of not having what your body now needs can be absolutely brutal.

That being said, has it become more understandable as to why most addicts cannot sober up without help? Does it make sense why the opioid issue in our nation is referred to as an epidemic?

SEE ALSO: Why I Don't Regret My Cutting Addiction

Let me eliminate the following conditional statement: addiction is a disease, but only because it is brought on by those who suffer from it. Nobody wakes up one day and says to themselves, I'm going to become an addict.

That is not how it works.

There are several factors that come into play with how someone could end up an addict. For example, there has been speculation by psychologists and medical professionals alike that alcoholism runs in families. With the alcoholism gene comes other motives for use that can affect a person’s risk of becoming hooked.

Some people may find that drinking is a way for them to cope with other issues, such as stress brought on by work or school and struggling with mental illness. Every addict has a story to tell, and very few of them will say that their addictions came out of left field.

I wish for the stigma involving drug addicts’ “oh, poor me” attitudes to be done with -- not just for the 23.5 million people hooked on drugs and alcohol in the United States alone, but for their parents.

Their siblings. Their loved ones. Their children.

Put yourself in the shoes of parents who just received a phone call that heroin took their son or daughter’s life. I dare you to tell me that all you would have to say is, well, they chose drugs.

The CDC reported that 91 Americans per day die of a heroin overdose. That number must go down, and it is not going to happen if people do not stop criticizing addicts for their conditions. Why? Because if they are made to feel ashamed of themselves, then they will hesitate to ask for help.

No addict made the direct, conscientious decision to become part of such a devastating statistic; they did not want for their lives to become a living hell.

It is time to stop bashing addicts for what they go through on a regular basis, and instead, we need to provide them with love and support on the road to recovery. I hope that what I have said instills compassion and understanding in those of you who may feel otherwise.

Cover Image Credit: The Atlantic

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.




These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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Addiction Prevention And Recovery Starts At Home

You can make a difference without leaving your house.

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The town in which I attended high school is a small one. It's a town where everyone knows your name, and if you're like me, you probably have at least 30 cousins in the area.

It's a place where we spend most of our lives- living, loving and growing. Many of us will even raise our future families here and watch them leave their mark on the place that made us who we are today.

But lately, this town has seen a dark cloud hover above it. That cloud is addiction.

It seems as though more often than not, I'm scrolling through my news feed and I stumble across an obituary of a former classmate or an old friend. It's sad to read the stories and see the photos of so many young people who lost their battle.

The truth is, each one of us can probably name at least three people who have overdosed and died without having to think too hard.

It seems that in this community losing young lives is all too normal.

Which beckons me to ask, what are we doing to prevent this from becoming "normal?"

While of course many of us don't have huge platforms or opportunities to increase and expand on the drug prevention efforts in schools, we do have the opportunity to be positive figures in our family units.

I won't pretend that I know exactly what goes on in the mind of an addict, but as someone who has been indirectly affected by addiction, I do think what matters most is what goes on at home.

More often than not, I hear people say that "you need to be a parent, not a friend." I for one think it's important to be both. Of course, discipline your child! Don't encourage bad behavior or decisions, but by all means, try your very best to keep an open dialogue going with your children.

Talk to your kids about topics that are maybe a little bit uncomfortable, give them a safe place to ask questions and discuss.

I urge you... if your child does become involved with drugs or anything else for that matter, don't turn your back them. As families, many of us are familiar with the term "unconditional love." So if that term means anything to you, then do your best to show it in trying times.

Do your best to provide them with helpful resources and hold them accountable, but most importantly shower them with love and encouragement. Help them find the motivation they need to become the best possible version of themselves.

Although it may not seem like much, it very well could save someone's life.

Cover Image Credit:

upload.wikimedia.org

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