I’m going to take some time to talk about something that I feel, is a little missunderstood from both, the addict in recovery and the person who loves/ is affected by the addict and their addiction.
It’s something I have no doubt you have all heard.
“Addiction is a choice.”
Do you think my first onesie as a baby said, “Future Blackout Artist”?
Do you think that on career day I sifted past the CEO’s, doctor, and lawyer card to find the hopless black card at the bottom of the deck labeled ‘Addict’? Bring on the blackouts with an extra dose of liver damage, please!
Do you think I woke up after nights of endless drinking and thought “HELL YES! THIS IS WHAT I’M LIVING FOR!! LIVING THE DREAM!!”
-and I would bet you all the tea in China that none of us that are in recovery, wanted to become addicted to our vices.
I’m not just talking about alcohol or drugs here either;
Believe it or not people become addicted to these things too, and almost everyone has at one point relied on coffee to get them through a really stressful busy day. Most everyone who uses coffee self admittedly can’t funtion without it, you’ve all seen the memes, coffee mugs, dunkin’ commercials.
*ahem*….THAT IS AN ADDICTION PEOPLE!
I think it’s fair to say you didn’t wake up one morning and say, “Gee, wouldn’t it be great to only wake up after my first two cups of coffee, and not a second sooner.” So clearly, addiction is NOT a choice; you can’t pick coffee and throw the rest of the addictions under the bus. An addiction is an addiction.
End of story. None of them are choices.
Those are the exact types of stigmas are especially detrimental to a recovering addict’s psyche, but especially rude and clearly ill-informed.
In my personal experience, the people who have thrown that “addiction/choice” into my face like dirt in a cat fight are equally as hurt by addiction that affects them indirectly.
- family that is hurt and unwilling to the suggestion that you are in fact somewhat powerless in this addiction
- friends who feel scorned that the friend they knew turned into someone unrecognizable and feel the “choice” is a clear rational and means for punishing the addict
- people who have no general clue about addiction but watch people go through it however are unempathetic towards the addict
Whoever says it’s a choice, seems to have either no forethought to the feelings or vulnerability of a human being in addiction/recovery, nor the understanding of the underlying causes of addiction.
That isn’t to excuse their behavior by any means, because really it is incredibly insulting to assume anyone would choose to be addicted to anything. I have, however always been one to try and see both sides of the coin.
So part of me wonders, do these people really think that addiction is a choice?
-or are they so blinded by the pain that has seeped into their lives because of the addiction of a loved one, and their scorn or lack of compassion is a direct ‘punishment’ over the pain they feel.
I’ll give you an example.
I very recently, and very silently unfriened someone on Facebook recently because of a meme they posted very closly related to this issue.
Call it childish if you want, but I don’t need to go through my feed daily and see things that say, “Stop telling your friend’s it’s a disease it’s a choice,” because that hurts me, and personally, I don’t need to see that little negativity EVER!
NO ONE deserves to be belittled with so little understanding in the issue.
While this person very publicly makes their opinion of addicts known, it’s very apparent that they are still directly affected by someone who is still very much in the grips of their addiction. It’s very clear as well, that they are still coming from a place of anger and pain and nothing I say will change their mind, which is why I chose to unfriend them.
Really, I’m only even talking about it here because I feel like a big part of the stigma surrounding addiction and recovery is that there is no bridge of communication for both sides to come to an understanding.
Especially when we are hurt, we lash out instead of asking the real questions that will solve the problem.
So for those of my readers who are not in recovery (or have never been addicted):
-please tread lightly with your blanketed negativity. Chances are the addict you are speaking to doesn’t realize it’s aimed at them, and you risk offending an entire (now growing) community of people .
And to my fellow recovery rockstars:
-before taking things to heart too much, remember that we are not the only ones still reovering the fragments left behind from our addiction.
Be kind recovery tribe, thanks for reading along with my opinions on this #lifeonthesoberside