Day 3: My views on drugs and alcohol.

Another hot button topic for me!

As many of you know, my Dad was an addict. Not the kind people imagine; he didn’t look like a “junky”- he looked healthy, boisterous. He was a cop, he was a hockey coach, a soccer coach. But inside our home was far more dodgy (for more info on that, read my previous post on this: Based on that, you can probably guess I have some strong views on drugs and alcohol. Really, my views have more to do with how we handle those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol than the actual substances themselves…

I really enjoy alcohol. Yes, I just said that. Not in the “I need a glass every day or I won’t be okay” kind of way, more in the “have a glass or two on the weekend, or even more on a night out with friends, when I don’t have kids to go home to,” kind of way. It’s probably not popular to say things like that, generally people are encouraged to downplay their enjoyment of alcohol. We are trained to say things like “oh but I never drink that much” or “I’m not much of a drinker.” I get it. It’s scary to think someone might “take you the wrong way.” Here’s the thing though, if you can’t be honest about your drinking habits, perhaps you should ask yourself why. Whether you have a problem or just worry about what people think, either way, its worth a moment of consideration.

So I’m going to be the first to say it; honestly. I enjoy alcohol; within reason. I’m also a human and sometimes reason flies out the window ( rarely, but it has happened). I spent a lot of years being fearful that I was going to turn into my father, but I realized, especially after the last few years, that he and I handle similar stresses very differently. Maybe, also, because I know how easily one can slip down that slope, I’ve always had it in the back of my head that I’d need to find some healthier ways to cope with the pitfalls of life. As I’ve said before, my Dad is my cautionary tale; I believe that he began using as a way to numb all of his fears, to turn off the voice in his head that he couldn’t deal with anymore. That said, how we treat addiction in this country is nothing short of shameful. 

I believe addicts should receive treatment when they can be convinced to accept it, and should be treated with the compassion that other people with diseases receive. I realize a lot of people don’t see addiction that way, and I’m probably not going to be the person to convince you otherwise if you don’t. But I’d like you to consider the following about people who battle addiction:
1). Part of the problem is that many don’t think they have a problem.

2). Dependency is a true issue. People really feel like they’ll die if they don’t use.

3). They know that if they admit the problem, people will look down on them. People will degrade them, people will say truly awful things about them.

I know this because I’ve read many vile comments any time a celebrity has an overdose, or passes away from drugs/alcohol. People say they deserved it, they were dirty junkies, they were trash; and that is cleaning it up, a lot. If you are facing a dependency issue (even if you don’t want to call it that, nor agree with the idea that it is, a disease), why would you easily admit it, knowing what so much of the world thinks of you? Knowing they will think you’re trash? 

Think about it, we tell people they’re brave for telling truths that aren’t even shameful. I’m a WIDOW with three kids, and it’s hard for ME to ask for help! Imagine what courage it must take to say to the world…but more importantly to people they’ve hurt, people they’ve disappointed, people they’ve abused when they were under the influence…

  • I’m sorry

  • I fucked up

  • I’m sick

  • I need help

  • I’m scared

  • I’m lost

  • I’m confused

  • I don’t know HOW to change this

Imagine that the only cure for your disease is to abstain from the only thing you know takes your pain away? That you literally can’t conceive of anything else helping?? 

I’m not saying I was always this compassionate as a daughter, y’all. When my dad was alive, I was fucking FURIOUS with him. I was so angry that I felt like I was never enough, that our family was never enough…it wasn’t until I was a full fledged adult that I realized none of it ever had anything to do with me. As a society we need to realize that addiction isn’t just formed from having “too much fun”, but to do with a chemical dependency, brought on by a natural inclination to it or by life circumstances that had them turn to whatever they could to feel better, which could be as innocuous as insecurity, or as big as having been abused. In the end, the cure is the same…therapy, help, an open heart. So next time you want to make a comment when someone dies from this disease, remember they were someone’s child, someone’s parent, someone’s lost hope. They were someone who once had a life, maybe just like yours, who was detoured somewhere along the way, and just never found their way back.