Addiction can be defined in many ways. In the dictionary, addiction is defined as "the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity." Sounds nicer that way, doesn't it? Addiction seems okay when it's just a word in the dictionary, when its grip doesn't determine your every move, when its power doesn't destroy your family, or your dreams, or your life. You use addiction as a way to justify your mistakes. You may be a lot of things, but at least you're not an addict, right? At least you aren't the lowest of the low, right? For some reason, that makes us feel better. We put addiction into a category that we consider ourselves so far away from. No one we love can possibly be low enough to be an addict. We don't associate ourselves with those kinds of people. Addiction isn't meant for people like me, right?

Wrong.

You think you know exactly what addiction looks like, how it comes about, the kind of people it reaches; we look down on addicts like they're trash on the street, like they have another choice. Addiction seems so beneath you; until it's your best friend, or your son, or your mom. It seems like it's only meant for the outcasts of the world, until you find yourself lying awake at night wondering where your child is, wondering if they're safe, or even alive; wanting so badly to pull them up from the black hole they've fallen into.

See, the truth about addiction is that it's everywhere. Addiction sees no race, no social class, no education, no neighborhood. Addiction touches every type of person. It's a disease. It is a process in the brain that tells an addict "I need this to live" and it outranks everything else in a person's life.

No one wants to live the life of an addict, I can promise you that. No one dreams about putting a needle in their arm to make it through the day. No one wants to wake up in the floor in some disgusting and unfamiliar place. No little girl or boy hopes that one day a glass of whiskey will be the only thing to bring them peace. No one wants to disappoint the people they love the most; steal from them and break their hearts, lose their kids, lose everything that's important to them.

Addiction is a disease. That's not an opinion by the way; it's a fact. It's an incurable disease that more often than not claims the lives of its victims. It rips fathers and mothers from their kids, it ruins families altogether, and it creates a dialogue of death and destruction wherever it goes.

The truth about addiction is that it's real and it's everywhere. The truth is that it touches every single one of us in some way. The truth is that we are all human, and we all have our demons.

The truth is we are all just doing the best we can, and addicts deserve just as much of a chance at life on the rest of us. Don't look down on what you don't understand.