Most people do not like hearing about addiction because it sounds like a heavy topic full of unresolved issues. Guess what? It is a heavy topic that’s full of more unresolved issues than anyone is really willing to address; the first being the last thing I just said. People get scared when it comes to addiction and recovery. They get really, really scared when someone openly discusses her personal encounters with addiction and recovery on a social platform. Isn’t it way more frightening though, to think about how very few people actually talk about this, at all? The roars heard from underground meetings are fine as long as they stay outside of “the real world”. From where I am standing, hiding in our own secrets cannot change the doughnut hole of sufferers who do not find recovery. If AA was the only way to beat this, wouldn’t everyone just go there, stay there, stay sober, the end? Why are so many of us still dying and losing this battle with addiction?
Since the space between AA and the growing sober movement is so great, many of us fall in between and miss recovery completely. Many have died believing that they did not have the will power to fix themselves. The general public has a very harsh and pointed perception of people suffering from addiction. This unethical and unacceptable stigma, by any standard of human rights in our 1st world country, prevents the pursuit of happiness for a large number of citizens. We need to stand up, educate ourselves, each other, and the general population about what addiction really is and why it happens so we can properly address the way it is viewed and handled in all aspects of life. This is a revolution. We don’t need to hide our truth or our gifts any longer. Sobriety is a gift. We, as sober individuals, are finally free from the chains of substance abuse, so why can’t we be free from hiding it? We deserve the best life possible just like every other human. We deserve a life that is truly precious, without discrimination. Why not stand up and say something to help myself and others like me live?
For once in my life I feel empowered to grow and help others by sharing my experience. The world should know what it means to be a person struggling from addiction. Recognize us! See us! Take a more wholesome approach to treating us like you do with every other person suffering from an illness! I have absolutely every reason to stand up and speak out about my experience with alcohol addiction. Not everyone is so fortunate. Not all of my sober friends are in a position to where they may speak so freely. They have a very real fear that they will lose their jobs, respect from others, be judged unfairly, and basically place a limitation on their future. Others, simply want to keep their personal stories to themselves which is fine. Fortunately, I do not have the pressure of possibly losing my job and have adopted recovery as my new occupation. My reputation is ‘whatever’ to me. I can’t hear anything about myself that I haven’t already heard before, and since I really fucking love myself today, I don’t read too much into what other people say about me. I’ll never have a squeaky clean record, but I will be damn sure to have a meaningful existence.
After listening to the most recent episode of HOME Podcast, I decided to look up more about Dr. Ruth Potee and on addiction and the brain. In the following video, Dr. Ruth Potee | YouTube, Potee speaks out against medical professionals, neglect, and proper treatment for addiction sufferers. She compares how the stigma associated with addiction directly affects the method and effort in which medical professionals choose to treat these patients. There is a strong lack of concern for patients suffering from addiction. She makes a solid argument comparing this view to the manner in which all other patients suffering from all other illnesses are treated, automatically.
(Dr. Ruth Potee M.D, speaking at North Hampton High School)
Is it fair to simply write off an entire population because they can’t get it right? You can’t drink like us. You can’t sit with us. You’re not being us, correctly. Go away. This is exactly what happens in a society that ignores addiction. The idea that we create this problem and don’t have the power to change it makes us ‘untouchable’ and most devastatingly, ‘untreatable’. I’m learning what I can about this to say what needs to be said with my voice. I know I will talk about this more, as I have a lot more to learn, but I wanted to share what was on my mind today.
I love that we can change. ❤