Recently my husband had to control me and my actions after listening a to medical professional’s lecture on the opioid epidemic in our country. He didn’t have to physically constrain me, but he definitely had to verbally and sternly look at me and say “I don’t think you need to say anything, this is their event and you are a guest. Please stop”. I heeded his request.
But, I had to share my thoughts in the hopes that this may help just one person get sober, or a family member or loved one to understand in layman’s terms what is feels like to be an alcoholic/addict.
Addicts are many, many different things, just like every human being that has a life-threatening disease. Adjectives that could be used to describe these people are the same words that many people could use to describe any other disease. My frustration begins when someone tries to put labels and general terms to describe alcoholic/addict.
For example, I WANT TO SCREAM AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS when someone uses the word SENSITIVE to describe an addict. Isn’t anyone who is in pain sensitive? Yes, some addicts and alcoholics are sensitive, and some aren’t. To use a general across the board word to describe an alcoholic/addict is inaccurate.
I believe health care professionals using the blanket statement, “the alcoholic/addict does not want to be judged” is insane! Who in their right mind wants to be judged? I don’t believe that anyone wants a stranger/friend/family member to review one’s behavior and then proceed to label them as one thing or another? Yes, addicts/alcoholics don’t want to be judged but neither does anyone else. We need to sharpen our interpretations and observations to come up with more valuable solutions to helping those battling this horrendous disease.
I love, love, love being an alcoholic! You may be scratching your head thinking, “Why in the world would anyone ever say that?” The reason I say it is because if I had never gotten clean and sober (meaning not using drugs or alcohol) I would never have learned what loving a stranger meant or what it felt like to just be grateful. These words describe the way I feel in my heart. Society has gotten so far away from love and gratitude that we have become a society of pessimists, complainers and a downright miserable lot! The only reason I can say this is because at a time I was just like that! Nothing was ever enough or good enough!
Addicts and Alcoholics are human beings that have lost their way. Many people prior to getting introduced to drugs and alcohol had successful lives in one way or another. Science tell us that the disease of addiction is genetic and when people get introduced to these spirits they change. They fall in love! This is the only way I can describe it to someone who doesn’t have this disease. When you fall in love with a person, you never stop thinking about the person you love. You want more and more of what you love, the person you love takes you! Literally takes all of you!
Personally, after I had my first drink it was love at first sip. Unfortunately, this love zapped all of my control, my thought processes, my everything! It took all things that were imperative to having a happy, successful life.
The love affair with drugs and alcohol always ends tragically! Or the person finally breaks up with the love of their life (alcohol and drugs) and surrenders to something outside of themselves. A person, someone that can help the addict/alcoholic be put back together physically and emotionally. Like the Tin Man, The Lion and the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. Addicts and Alcoholics need a new heart, brain and courage.
The love affair with drugs and booze is what needs addressing and you cannot look at the addict/alcoholic with blanket statements and adjectives. Each individual need's one-on-one help, especially in the first 90 days. A broken heart takes a lot of time to heal. Generalization is what we use to treat disease in this country and it just won’t work with addiction. This disease goes deeper emotionally than other diseases. Deeper meaning that it hits our core; our moral and ethical core. We are not bad people, we are people who need love, kindness and patience. All of these things are things that are freely given to people we love. We are not taught how to love unconditionally. The addict/alcoholic needs, unconditional love, and that my friend is a very, very, very, hard thing to put a price tag on.