Stop Calling Your Drug Addiction A Disease

Stop Calling Your Drug Addiction A Disease

Let me take you into a cancer ward, then try telling me you also have a disease.
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Drug addiction has increasingly become more problematic over the last few years, with the opioid epidemic tearing apart families and leaving communities vulnerable to drug dealers and violence. Addiction treatment has become more widely available, and the stereotypes surrounding addicts have definitely changed.

SEE ALSO: Accepting Addiction As A Disease Isn't Enabling Addicts, It's Helping Them

However, one thing remains constant, and that is addicts and enablers labeling drug addiction as a disease.

Addiction changes the brain in fundamental ways. It changes the normal hierarchy in a person's brain and then substitutes their needs and priorities for whatever said addictive is (in this case, we're focusing on drugs). When a person does a drug, they release dopamine, which causes the body to crave the substance more, and eventually alters the way the brain reacts to these chemicals. The reason that drug addictions are called "diseases" is that since the brain has become altered from drugs, the resulting compulsive behavior overrides the ability to control impulses, therefore making it a "relapsing disease."

You chose this.

You chose to smoke the weed.

You chose to shoot up heroin.

You chose to snort cocaine.

You chose to buy prescription pills that you did not need.

You chose this.

I can't express how much it infuriates me when drug addicts have the audacity to play the "oh poor me" role, blaming their choices on a disease that they brought on themselves. That child in the cancer ward didn't choose to do something that brought on their cancer, that woman with cystic fibrosis didn't do something to bring it upon herself.

Every drug addict made a choice, so don't tell me you have a disease all because you chose to do something you knew wasn't right. Could you really look a child stricken with cancer in the eyes and tell them you also have a disease, that you're also sick, but that unlike them, you made choices that led you to where you are, while they didn't? Take some personal responsibility and own up to it, but don't you dare go around telling people you have this so called disease that YOU created.

I've seen firsthand what addiction can do, who it hurts and how it destroys. I've watched enablers cosset the addict, consistently making up excuses as to why that person is an addict, why they can't quit, and best of all; why they have a disease and should be treated as such. But enablers are not the problem, it's the manipulator –– who is the drug addict.

They manipulate others to believe their lies, to believe that they are actually diseased and therefore can not quit because it’s a sickness. Have we, as a society, become so blatantly oblivious to basic manipulation tactics that we fail to see that drug addicts have made this "disease" for themselves as a means to escape personal responsibility?

SEE ALSO: I'll Stop Calling Addiction A Disease When It Stops Actually Being One

The reason this bothers me so much isn't because I watch these addicts throw away their life, while someone is sitting in a hospital bed clinging onto their last breath, wishing that just for a moment they were healthy, that they didn't have to face the chances that they would be dead within months. It bothers me because of the label we have given to addicts. This label makes them believe they have an actual disease that they didn't ask for. Let's be real, what person asks for cancer, cystic fibrosis, ulcerative colitis, or multiple sclerosis?

So please, stop playing the victim role thinking you have a disease that you brought on yourself because of your choices. Stop crying the blues because you screwed up and want the world to take pity.

Cover Image Credit: http://ccbhc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/drug-abuse.jpg

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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!

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What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

Price: $21.85

11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

Price: $79.99

12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

Price: $7.99

13. Frat House Dr. Sign

Price: $13.99

Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

Price: $17.19

Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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What I've Learned Growing Up The Child Of An Addict

When you're a child of addiction, you tend to deal with a lot of pain, frustration, and guilt. At some point, these feelings become more an opportunity for growth and learning than anything else.

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I've always wanted my dad to be someone else. I'm sure every child has imagined their life with different parent(s) in a moment of anger- but when you're the child of an addict, it tends to be more than a fleeting thought; it becomes something of a daydream, actually.

Eventually, though, these thoughts and resentments are replaced with acceptance and appreciation.

As you enter adulthood and start making a life for yourself, separate from your parents', it seems easier to approach the "grown-ups" in your life with a greater sense of perspective and, therefore, understanding. You've now faced losses, have had to make some of the life-changing decisions that send some on a path to addiction, and have been exposed to certain environments that act as breeding grounds for addictive personalities and people prone to distress and deviated behavior.

Overall, you've seen more of the world; you know first-hand how hard it can be to experience, and why some people find any means of escape. I've always wanted my dad to be someone else- until I realized he taught me a lot about myself, the world around me, and the choices everyone must make at some point.

Until I was about 11 or so, I spent my summers months in Santa Cruz, California, where my father lives. I always arrived and left happy enough, but often dreaded the middle part of the trip. It wasn't all bad, of course: I had other families to see, frequent trips to the beach and boardwalk, and a lot of fresh seafood to eat. But many nights, and afternoons even, my father was drunk. Very drunk. He would drive me drunk, he would leave me with strangers while he went to the pub to get drunker and when he was around, would hover over me like a sad, lost puppy. Sometimes I didn't understand, but when I did, I was heartbroken for him; I pitied him, even. His mother died when he was very young, and he grew up in Wales, where it was pretty common to start drinking at a young age, so he didn't really have anyone to urge him against it as relief from the grief he felt. His father, to make matters worse, was often fairly cold and distant.

My father, in retrospect, didn't stand much of a chance. Instead of a loser, or weak-minded and hopeless, I see him now as a product of his environment. I've come to appreciate that lots of people don't have access to the resources I do, or have people available to them that help, and not hinder, their personal growth. I recognize that he's made the choices he's made, good or bad, but have also learned that almost every one of them has absolutely nothing to do with me. In fact, I know he wishes he hadn't made some of them, if only for my sake. Instead of regretting the time I've spent with him like I used to, I appreciate that he even made time for me and that in his self-awareness, he has always allowed me the room to feel anger, grief, and frustration. Even if it was towards him.

Flash forward to more recently, when I learned that growth is not linear. It is not always easy, or helpful, to apply things you've learned in the past to new situations. This became more evident for me not long after Christmas a few years ago. A couple days prior, my dad had come to Washington for the holidays (because we concluded that he'd been sober for long enough to deserve a visit) and we were in downtown Seattle with my aunt and cousin just walking around. Apparently, he hadn't been as sober as long as he'd said, because he went into withdrawal in a small shop on the waterfront. He fell to the ground, and all I'd heard was the crash as his head hit the floor full-force. He laid there, seizing and unaware until the EMTs came for him. And I stood there, still and too aware, until my cousin pulled me to the back of the store.

This wasn't the last time this happened. It happened next Christmas, too. Different place, fewer people, but it all looked and felt the same. I was disappointed for a long time that he couldn't keep sober for longer than a couple months. It seemed like every time he would make progress, he would fall off the wagon soon after. I started to see a pattern, though. Each time he failed, it became easier for him to put himself back together, and the periods between his failures would shorten in length. Apparently, the idea that growth is not linear did not just apply to me.

Every time I become resentful, or impatient with him, I remind myself that progress has dips and peaks, and is a process like anything else; he deserves, at the very least, the benefit of the doubt. Without it, he wouldn't have much to work towards.

I'm nineteen now and haven't spoken to my dad in months. Every time I do, I feel guilty and an impending sort of melancholy. Last time we spoke I was in Santa Cruz and it was in person; he was still drinking. I thought for sure it would be my last time with him, so I cherished it and tried to walk away with closure. Since that visit, the one I thought would be our last, I learned the most important thing of all: I am not obligated to give him my time or attention, and I should not feel guilty about keeping it from him, because it is not, and never has been, my job to keep him on the straight and narrow.

I am a child and, most of all, my own person. If I decide to call him one of these days, it is because I want to, and not because I feel I have to. If I call him, it will be because of all he's taught me and all he still has yet to.

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