“Once an addict, always an addict.” This gem from the 12-step drug addiction recovery cult is one of the most harmful sentences to ever be wedged into our society, along with every other sentiment that mischaracterizes anyone who’s ever used drugs as a degenerate, selfish, walking disease. Families are being torn apart by the idea that someone who has struggled with addiction will always struggle with addiction. Families are being ruined by the misinformation that anyone who uses drugs ever is incompetent. My family is being ruined by drug use stigma. My life, my heart, and my soul are being torn apart by your blind miseducation.
I mean that, of course, as a general “you.” I don’t know who you actually are, you who are reading this. You could be the most enlightened person on this planet. You could be Shilo Jama, who runs the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance and has the most accurate views on drug use and addiction I’ve ever encountered. Or you could be someone who shares similar views. But “you” as a whole–society as a whole–are blind to the realities of drug addiction and drug use. Worse, society doesn’t care to fix it’s blindness.
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.
Hello and welcome to Off-Fridays. If you’re new here, Off-Fridays is a blog share that converts to a link library and themed resource page once it closes for links. Anyone is welcome to join so long as your links are on-topic and not abusive. The rules page can further explain what Betty’s Battleground considers abusive (hint: controversial does not mean abusive). This week’s topic is addiction.
Addiction is a big scary word that not a lot of people think they know much about, even though many of us have experienced it in some form or another. If you want to test just how much you know about addiction, check out “Is/Is Not: Addiction,” a game I created this month to test people’s ideas about certain commonly misunderstood topics. Addiction is so widely demonized and misunderstood that I have begun to make it a personal mission to very publicly overshare the realities of my own addiction. Before I send you to the page where you can leave you links, I want to share a brief story.
I read an article the other day by a well-versed writer who had some heavy duty, prestigious credits like Al-Jazeera and CNN. The article was well-written–no complaints there. Engaging too. I even shared it around some. But at one point the writer described her ex-husband, who she had discovered using drugs. First, she found a tinfoil with burned, tarry traces zigzagging across it. Then, she noticed his pupils were the size of pins. Finally, she confirmed what she’d been suspecting: he was high on METH! Does anyone else see the problem here?