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Why Drug Addiction Could Happen To Anyone

From the moment addiction takes hold, the person suffering is considered an outsider, however addiction is no longer fringe behaviour. Here's why we should help, not turn a blind eye, because it could happen to any one of us...

If your child had a drug or alcohol dependency, would you rather they were locked up in prison, or helped? No one turns up on careers day in school saying ‘I want to to be powerless over alcohol, and/or addiction and I want my life to become unmanageable by it when I grow up’

‘By the time I was thirteen I had my first drink’, ‘by my fifteenth birthday I had smoked my first spliff’, ‘by seventeen I was injecting heroin‘, ‘I stole off friends’, ‘I sold my body to feed my habit’, ‘they locked me up and put me in a mental institution’, ‘I was repeatedly abused’, ‘I had a blackout and woke up in a cell’, ‘I lost my home’, ‘I slept on a park bench’ are only a few things an addict/alcoholic may say.

The reason why people chose to use drugs are very personal issues and personal choices. The media and community chooses to see a criminal, but unless you know someone who has battled with addiction you have no idea the pain that person has had to suffer. Addiction and alcoholism is a world that only those so close and so involved in will ever truly understand.

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Addiction and alcoholism is like a job, it becomes work. From the moment addiction and alcoholism begin they have started the worst job in the world, with a lunatic of a boss screaming at them from inside of their own mind, without a single moment off. And the more the addict/alcoholic uses/drinks the worse it gets, as the addict/alcoholic then becomes the living dead.

Addiction and alcoholism is a greedy disease, first it will take your money. Then it will take your friends and family, your home, your ability to function in society, then it will start eating away at bits of your body until it takes you alive, body, mind and soul. Very often the addict/alcoholic would prefer to give it’s life away than give up the addiction/alcohol.

Addiction and alcoholism robs an addict of almost all of their psychic energy to love, create and live full, complete lives in harmony with The Universe, God – (whatever you choose to call this force), and others.

It’s no good telling people who suffer from ‘addict brain’, that they shouldn’t have picked up drugs. “Drugs are addictive, so don’t take them”. “Just Say No” approach seems so obvious to outsiders but Addicts operate on a different spectrum from everyone else – and this is what a lot of people can’t understand.

Many addicts/alcoholics who have managed to arrest their core addiction, have embarked upon a spiritual, and metaphysical journey, a Voyage of Self Discovery, that even they say is beyond their wildest dreams. So if you then make drug addiction/alcoholism into a story, it could be a pleasure to hear about. The boy kicks out to the world, the world kicks back a lot harder, he is lost and then he’s found – the happy ever after.

However recovery does not always unfold with a happy ever after, it becomes too ordinary, the daily meetings, going to the doctors, trapped in the revolving door of relapse, getting sick, cleaning up, dealing with shame and resentment, and then using/drinking again. This is how addiction and alcoholism most resembles a disease, because a lot of diseases don’t go away on their own either, you just keep on managing them. A trip to the doctors, exercise, take the medication, – that is the same story as fighting addiction and alcoholism, and telling them it can take a life time.

Stigma, shame and disgust will not solve the problem of addiction and alcoholism, neither will choosing to ignore it. It will not stop the crime, the heartbreak and the damage that the addicts/alcoholic leaves in their wake. Rage, self-righteousness and condemnation never find solutions to problems. Understanding will!

Next time an outsider chooses to judge an addict/alcoholic they see at work, sat on the park bench, pass on the street or read about in the paper maybe they should try and understand rather than judge. Have they themselves never made a mistake? How wonderful it sounds to have no defects of character. To have never made a mistake. To have never gone the wrong way in life. To have never got lost in something that’s got it’s grips on you that’s so tight, and to have no understanding of it. Next time you chooses to judge try and remember that is someones, brother, sister, son, daughter, cousin, friend, parent, colleague or loved one, as everybody has somebody, and anybody can turn to alcohol/drugs when they are vulnerable. Who are you to stand and judge?

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

Paul Green 11:09 am, 19-Mar-2013

All very true. I love the irony of some people, usually comfortable middle class middle aged people who sneer at addicts and moan about any cash being spent on rehabilitation. Then you hear them talk or start Tweeting about “wine o clock” at 6 pm. They are just as much addicts as the bloke on the park bench with a bottle of cheap cider. Only difference theirs is the acceptable face of alcoholism. Still addicts though

Dr John Quinn 11:24 am, 19-Mar-2013

Interesting article. Addiction is one of the trickiest areas for a GP. It's easy to become complicit and to validate damaging behaviour. I agree with everything that you say by in my opinion the ultimate cure is will power. Without a genuine desire to quit, something which cannot be administered, addiction never goes away.

Louise 11:52 am, 19-Mar-2013

I like this it's not biased, it's just the truth.

Hazel 1:04 pm, 19-Mar-2013

The blunt truth of this article sent a shiver of horror through me but helping is not always acceptable. Written with the heart.

Hazel 1:16 pm, 19-Mar-2013

Written from the heart. Made me open my mind and eyes

mutlu 1:42 pm, 19-Mar-2013

Famous opium addicts from history Marcus Aurelius Roman Emperor Charles Dickens Author Florence Nitingale Nurse

Tracey 2:08 pm, 19-Mar-2013

Good article - shared it

AlexG 8:05 pm, 19-Mar-2013

Well written, Gia x

Stephen Lambert 10:38 pm, 19-Mar-2013

Another Great Article!!!

Mr Blank 11:01 pm, 19-Mar-2013

Dr John Quinn > Couldn't agree more. After battling with heroin addiction for 8 years of my life i finally overcame it, without the help of family and several very understanding GP's/support workers it wouldn't have been possible, however, i've no doubt that key to this was my own desire to get back the life i knew i could lead. I now have a career, prospects and a life worth living. To outsiders it may seem that my previous life is a distant memory but i know how close it really is, a minor stumble can easily lead me onto a path of devastating addiction once more.

Michelle 12:40 am, 20-Mar-2013

Not biased? The use of the word addict is disconcerting, never mind the assumption that every single person with a dependency has absolutely no self control or respect. Pffft.....

Sapam Nandiker 5:30 am, 20-Mar-2013

All persons are the same. A thread everyday will make a cable which will be imposible to break.

Colin Bohan 7:46 am, 20-Mar-2013

A very good article, that gives a slant that I hadn't thought about previously, as an elder person it was refreshing to read

Ewen 3:25 pm, 20-Mar-2013

Very good article.

Caroline 6:52 pm, 20-Mar-2013

Absolutely right. We are all so close to becoming addicts that judging and slandering those that are or have been, is pride before a possible fall.

Ringo levio 12:30 am, 21-Mar-2013

Great piece of writing my opinion is that drugs and there effects are made a hell of a lot worse by criminalising the user My message to anyone dabbling with drugs or alcohol is simply All things in moderation and when it stops being fun have fun do something else instead

Beatrice 1:47 am, 21-Mar-2013

this heartfelt article is very thought provoking. It invites you to distinguish between judgement and understanding (what caused it,what keeps you in the grip of an addiction, the pain of it).

Pedro 1:37 pm, 2-Apr-2013

Speaking from experience, I have to disagree with some of this. In my teens and 20s I smoked weed daily, did coke a few times a week, a few E's at the weekend... I am well educated and moderately intelligent and have always held down well paid jobs with large corporate firms and to meet me you would never have known my dark secret. I recognised my demons in my early 20s on and knew I had a a problem. The problem being I found drinking dull and getting high amazing. I mean proper fucking amazing. When it was myself and my circle of mates all doing it, it was fine, but one by one they got married, had kids and stopped. This left me, for much of my late 20's getting high alone or with random people. As I entered my 30's and after a number of unsuccessful relationships with women I didn't care enough about to stop, I met my wife. I knew I had met the woman I wanted to spend my life with and within a few weeks I was totally clean, off the party circut and am now a "boring" husband and father. Not a day goes by that I do not wish I could have one last blowout, but I am responsible enough to recognise I had to make a choice and I made it and that's that. I love my wife, my children and my life and know if I ever go back to the drugs I risk losing all that I have. I've known enough junkies in my time to know one thing. Without purpose an addict will never stop being an addict, for there is no reason to stop. Most don't have a job they love or the love of a good woman / man to replace the pure joy they get from getting high. I was fortunate to meet my wife, but I do not want sympathy or understanding, we each make decisions that affect the rest of our lives and we must each take responsibility for those actions and the judgement of others is part of that. Most addicts have had countless opportunities to change their future, but have chosen drugs ahead of everything else, that's their choice and they should not be exempt from judgement by others because of it.

s kellams 1:06 am, 24-Jun-2013

Wow, unbelievable article. You are so right, and you made your point wonderfully. Pedro, you have to understand, addicts can not quit. Research is being done to find out why some people can just quit and others see to not be able to quit. I am so glad you were able to quit, but I disagree about it being a choice. I believe there is something in addicts brains that make it nearly impossible for them to quit. I speak from personal experience. I have used many drugs in my 20's and 30's and I am a responsible, married mom of four. I have been married for 18 years and you would not know meeting me that I had ever done such things either. But I have several friends and one family member that for some reason could not quit. Addicts brains do not work as ours do. People should never judge each other anyway. How could you judge another person without living their life as they have so you actually know enough to judge?

Paul 6:44 pm, 6-Jul-2013

great article - beautifully written

Addicted 11:52 am, 15-Oct-2013

I agree with pedro to some extent, I believe there is an element of choice and personal responsibility involved. I've lost a very good job because of drinking before and most people would probably class me as someone with a 'drinking problem' although full on alky doesn't apply cos I very rarely drink duri the week. Anyways, when I've had big trouble with alcohol, I tend to revert to a type in which I kind of bury my head in the sand and blame the problems I have with drinking. If I were rich I could've afforded proper help but alas no. Without wanti to lay it on too thick, what I've done before will haunt me for some time I think. Certain people won't forget it and I've been a little bit tarred professionally. And why should I expect different? Certain people know that they can't trust me in certain situations anymore and you'd be a fucking idiot if you were a boss and someone known to have problems with drugs came a -knocking. Yet the circle continues. I've gone about 2/3 weeks sober now and for me the +'s are outweighing the -'s, and it's obvious now that either I stay straight and sober or play a dangerous risky game for, well for nothing. I wouldn't judge a smack head worse than I'd judge an alky, but if you're not lucky enough to have money or support, then you'd better start fucking realising that its mainly gonna come down to you to get yourself straight.

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