I just had a rather heated discussion with a now former friend on facebook regarding their opinion that addiction is a choice, not a disease.
I welcome anyone who is judgmental of me and of other addicts, and feels that we are weak-willed, contemptible slags who deserve to die… you may ALL go ahead and unfriend me on Facebook right now. Kiss my rear bumper and don’t let the door smack your bottom on the way out.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand the frustration that happens when trying to comprehend the incomprehensible. I mean, why would ANYONE do something repeatedly that is killing them or ruining their lives? WHY?
Why can’t you just STOP! Cut it out! If I can drink just one beer and stop — why can’t YOU??
Why would an addict put a needle in their arm? Why would a pill-popper pop pills? Why would an alcoholic drink themselves into an early grave? Why don’t they just pull up their big girl pants and just STOP?
Here’s the key everyone needs to understand. Once the brain is hijacked, It’s no longer a choice. It’s a disease. Plain and simple. Science bears this out.
Long-term changes happen within the brain that reinforce the need for more of whatever it is the addict is doing. It becomes an overwhelming need — higher on that Malsow’s Hierarchy of Needs chart than food or water. The brain becomes rewired to consider the need for that substance to be a matter of sheer survival.
Science — not suspicion — backs me up here.
We as a country are fighting an uphill battle in trying to come up with treatment for those with substance abuse issues. The opioid crisis has brought it to the forefront of our attention. While the DISEASE is well-understood, treatment is not. Treatment fails in many cases.
Relapse rates are around 50% within one year.
That doesn’t mean we shoudn’t keep trying. And it does NOT help the fight to deny that these addicted people have a real problem.
Many babies are born addicted. Does that make them scumbag addicts too? Are they losers who deserve to die? Just stop shaking, loser baby! That heroin is bad for you! Don’t you know that?
Why does the diabetic, for instance, not eat properly and take their medicine accordingly? Could it be that the overwhelming desire to eat sugary snacks (driven by their hijacked insulin-resistant systems) can sometimes overwhelm common sense?
Or how about the guy with high blood pressure. He knows he should take his meds, but they make him feel tired, so he doesn’t take them like he should. How outraged are you when he develops congestive heart failure? What an ass! He deserves it!
And what about the smoker who has a 2-pack a day habit for 20 years and is diagnosed with lung cancer. Scumbag smoking asshole deserves to die, gasping for breath, right?
And guess what? Relapse rates for those being treated for high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease is ON PAR with relapse rates for addicts. Around 50% are noncompliant or stop taking their meds within one year.
So before you start spouting off about how addiction is a choice not a disease, consider what you’re really saying. If you universally consider “choice” in these situations, all of us would be shot on sight.
Compassion is the cornerstone to any treatment plan for addicts. i’m not saying it’ll fix everything — some people are gonna be assholes whether they’re addicted to something or not. And some are simply worse off than others. And yes, choice does come into play — people need to WANT to get well — but isn’t that true of anything?
The cancer patient has to WANT treatment. But if treatment fails, is that the cancer patient’s fault for not WANTING it enough?
Consider the suffering before you stand in judgment of someone who struggles every day with this. Weak-willed? These people are survivors on a level that a “normal” person will never know.
I have NEVER met a person struggling with addiction who wanted it. Nor did the person with lung cancer want it. Or the man who got diabetes choose it. Or the baby born addicted to heroin — okay, that little bastard probably had it coming. LOL
Take your hate elsewhere. We don’t need it.
*Note: “Lebensunwertes Leben,” the title of this article, is German for “life unworthy of life”, a term used in Nazi Germany to justify eugenics.
“60,000 Reichsmark is what this person suffering from a hereditary defect costs the People’s community during his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too.”
— From a 1938 poster put out by Neues Volk, a propaganda magazine that proposed sterilization or death for “undesirables” in Nazi Germany