Today’s guest post comes from a young man who has gone through addiction and come out the other side. But he writes today to remind us that sometimes the “other side” is not as clear-cut as we may believe. Complacency can creep up on a person in recovery without her even realizing it. It’s something we all need to watch out for, and I think that counts for people in any kind of recovery, not just addiction. Don’t get too comfortable, because that’s where relapse hides.
One thing I’d like to note is that I enjoy sharing posts from people from a range of perspectives. Mental illness and recovery are umbrellas that cover many different experiences and perspectives. Sometimes I may not fully agree with everything a guest blogger has written, and that’s okay. Respectful disagreement is part of what makes this world so fascinating.
I’m not making this disclaimer because I don’t agree with the subject of Parker’s article. But he does make some references to Twelve Step programs. Personally, I have a bit of a vendetta against Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. Mostly because of their stance on medication (which is, essentially, don’t use it) but also because they pressure people to speak in religious or spiritual terms, to give up their own power over their recovery, and to permanently label themselves as “addicts.” But that’s just my opinion! If you think differently, I urge you to leave your thoughts in the comments.
Parker’s pragmatic, yet introspective take on substance abuse recovery bridges the gap between science and firsthand experience. He hopes to reach the struggling and the recovering addict where they are at through his writing and communication skills. Parker is currently the Digital Marketing Coordinator at Ambrosia in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
I just encountered a disturbing phenomenon. Maybe I’m the last kid on the bus to notice this, but apparently there’s a sect of chronic pain patients who are opioid crisis deniers. They feel that the deaths of drugs users is inconvenient to their cause. I’m guessing there are tons of these bubbles across the internet, but the 12,000+ strong one I came across on Twitter was headed by a Stanford educated doctor named Thomas Kline.
The tweets these people sent were fairly rambling and incoherent, especially those by Dr. Kline himself, but from what I could gather, they think the lives and deaths of addicted people are inconsequential, and the cause of their own woes. The sad part is, chronic pain patients and people in addiction recovery (or active addiction) have a common enemy, and if we banded together instead of engaging in this petty insane bullshit, maybe we could crush it. The enemy, of course, being STIGMA. Unfortunately, as long as Dr. Kline keeps spewing his pseudoscience to the sycophantic followers that need to believe him with all their souls, that community will never happen.
I’m not bashing chronic pain patients. Many chronic pain patients are on the same page as me. For those that I’m referencing in this post, I don’t blame them. It’s intoxicating to be part of a highly stigmatized population and then to find someone who speaks loudly in your favor, says everything you need said, and is willing to stand up and fight for you. If that person then skews facts and figures in your favor, why wouldn’t you defend him? I don’t blame the patients. But I do blame the doctors.
I am honored to introduce Andolina as this month’s Parenting with Mental Illness interviewee. She’s a beautiful young mother who lives with Major Depressive Disorder and moderate anxiety. She also lost her father to suicide. I can only imagine what that kind of loss is like, and I thank her for her sharing her story here on Betty’s Battleground. It breaks my heart to hear about yet another woman whose birthday has been ruined possibly forever–this time by a tragic loss.
A person recently left a very interesting comment on my blog post about forgiving our loved ones who commit suicide. She (I’m actually not sure of the person’s gender, but am using “she” for the sake of clarity) noted that she had lost her spouse to suicide several years back. Then she asked me to re-write my post to exclude the term “commit suicide.” She informed me that there is now a movement to have people say “died by suicide” rather than “commit suicide,” due to negative connotations associated with the word commit, and the idea that suicide is an act for which the victim is not culpable.
I’m familiar with these kinds of language movements. There’s one also in place around the word “addict,” for which I’ve had several losing battles with editors on the titles and language within certain of my articles. My problem here is that I’m not sure I agree. I don’t agree that the word commit is inherently negative, nor do I agree that people who attempt suicide have no volition whatsoever. They’re ill, usually, but if we say they have no power, that can be dangerous to people struggling with suicidal ideations. Is our commitment stronger to the living, or the deceased? I do believe we should respect and honor those who lost their lives to suicide. I do believe in awareness. I don’t know how I stand on the language. Will you leave your thoughts in the comments?