One thing that makes me smile slightly in the wake of Amy Winehouse’s death is the social awareness for addiction that seems to be igniting. I won’t hold out hopes that it’ll catch and take, but awareness and information being out there more widely make me very happy.
Hi, I’m me, and I am an addict.
I sometimes feel overdramatic saying that, even if it’s true. I’ve never had a needle in my vein, or snorted anything more dire than Pixie Stix (I went to art school – we did weird things.). But I was a heavy user of marijuana and LSD as a teenager, and I know why – escape. I popped pills and washed them down with vodka, and I know why – escape. Escape, normalization, socialization; I was never pressured to do these things. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t do them and excessively, because I did, and to the detriment of relationships and my ability to work, especially once I joined the military and took up drinking as my ship of safeties. It wasn’t until I met my now husband that I realized just how bad things were… and eventually managed to shake them off.
I’m not saying it’s easy by any stretch, and I never would. Our own demons are our worst enemies, and too many people duck their heads between their legs and avoid them however they might find comfort and escape. It is not an easy battle, but it breaks my heart seeing so many people giving up before they even really try. It’s possible to come out the other side, to find something and someone to live for… but I guess you have to cling on to hope even in the darkest hours. And I always did; it might have been ‘childish’ and naive of me, but it kept me going where I sneered at religion or therapy because I thought I knew how to deal with it best. And, I suspect, that’s the real problem with addiction and the bandage it is – you can offer all the loving support you want and have the finest intentions, but really – it’s pressure an addict doesn’t need. If you’re fighting yourself, the last thing you need is someones’ elses ‘good intentions’ atop your own mountain, and often, I would venture to say it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. That isn’t to say expressing love and support isn’t a good thing; a whispered word of love, a thoughtful note, and so forth can be flashes of light in the dark. But bullying someone into therapy, rehab, going cold turkey – you mean well, you do, but you can’t fight other peoples’ demons as hard as you might want to. Step back – if you’re needed, your loved ones will call on you when they are able to untie themselves enough to ask for it.
To my friends and readers who still struggle with addiction – don’t be a dick to or about other addicts. Seriously. It sucks, you know it sucks and maybe you even think you’re superior because you’re still alive… but that doesn’t excuse dick behavior. I’m sure you wouldn’t want people thinking nasty thoughts about you and your struggles (won or lost), so extend the same courtesy, mmkay? I do understand the appeal of dark thoughts and lashing out, but it doesn’t do anyone any good. *hugs for good measure*
Anyways… here’s to making it another day, and hoping I can make it many more.