“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.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stigma is alive and well. If you have PTSD, you’ve probably heard someone tell you to “just get over” your trauma. Maybe it was a well-meaning friend or family member, like my father who was frightened by my suicidal ideations. Or maybe it was a less well-meaning stranger, like the rude New Yorker who recently commented on my blog telling me to “grow up and take responsibility for [my] life.” Whether the statement comes from a place of love or stigma, it doesn’t make sense in the context of PTSD. Here’s why.
Today I am beyond thrilled to provide you a review of the novel My Fair Junkie, written by Amy Dresner–who writes for many of the same sites I do (and more) but has been doing so for a lot longer–followed by an exclusive interview and then (yep, there’s more!) a chance to win a free copy of this honest and revealing book about addiction, mental illness, and recovery. I know I missed a week of posting. I hope this incredibly cool interview and contest makes up for it.
Amy Dresner is a former professional comic and everything-fiend. She’s been a writer for theFix.com since 2012. She’s also written for The Frisky, Refinery 29, Salon, Addiction.com and Daily Tonic/Vice. “My Fair Junkie: A memoir of getting dirty and staying clean” published by Hachette in September 2017 is her first book. Find her on Twitter: @amydresner, Instagram: @amydresner, and Facebook: @amydresnerofficial