Part 2.1 Misunderstanding and Misdiagnosing Addiction
Part 2.2 The War on Drugs vs The War for Drugs
My friend Rick is an addict who is helping me understand addiction to a degree I’d missed before, despite concerted effort on my part. I’ve known many addicts and addiction has had a profound effect in my own family, something which I’m sad to say most reading this can surely relate.
Most of us in the US know an addict in our intimate circles. In my family we lost an addicted cousin far too young to drunk driving. There were several from my university circles who were in and out of rehab, a few also succumbing to relapses that led to their premature deaths.
Because there are others from different parts of the globe who will not fully understand without some background context, let me give the 2-minute elevator pitch to precede what we are about to present, Rick and I.
Imagine you live in what is referred to in the US as ‘the Bible belt‘.
You go to church every Sunday. Your familial social life revolves around church and your festivities around the church’s calendar. Every motel you have ever visited, probably from your traveling sport team or summer camp or girl’s or boy’s scouts, or other state-sponsored extra-curricular activity, until age 12, minimum, has a Bible in the nightstand drawer.
You are surrounded with billboards and slogans of “Jesus loves you” in various verbiage. You say the pledge of allegiance in your public school, which is of course a place you are required by law to attend.
And, most importantly, you live in a ‘dry county’ and all the counties around you for a good distance are also dry. Dry, as in alcohol is illegal.
Alcohol. Allow that to absorb a moment please for those of y’all who aren’t familiar with this reality. Not just marijuana is illegal–Not just heroine or barbiturates or Heaven’s-to-Betsy ecstasy-like designer drugs–You can’t even legally buy WINE!
Ok, just let that sink in a spell, because we still have some here in the south up until this present day, though the bulk of them lost social credit in only the last 5-10 years!
As of those ‘previous’ days, from the 1980s, “Dry” counties started hauling drugs through them suddenly so thick it was like stink on a possum.
Do possums do math?!
And still, your parents drink. Right? You live in a dry county, but your parents drink.
Yet, they can’t comprehend how illegal drugs infiltrated their Sunday-service-oriented Bible-pumping counties.
How their children and children’s children succumb to addiction in such astonishing numbers is as strange and as believable the man on the moon.
Meanwhile the music goes from Tiptoe through the Tulips to MORE MORE MORE MORE!!!
To now, cultural death by a thousand paper cuts.
How does this happen?
Cultural conditioning? Social engineering? Brainwashing? Epigenetics?
“I come from a good family. They did the best they could. They had no idea they’d given birth to a bouncing baby addict,” says Rick.
Of course not, how would they?
One becomes an expert at walking the line, or a hero in crossing it.
And the prisons get filled and the poems get writ.
And some do it solely for the money.
“I’d sell my soul for you, babe. I give you all and have nothing. MORE MORE MORE!
A rebel yell?
She want more. Oh yay the little angel, she want more . . .
“According to the report, over the past decade, the number of Kentuckians who have died from drug overdoses has steadily climbed to more than 1,500 a year.”
“Countering prevailing notions of addiction as either a genetic disease or an individual moral failure, Dr. Gabor Maté presents an eloquent case that addiction – all addiction – is in fact a case of human development gone askew.”
Rick, in his own words.
Let me say that I come from a good family, my mother was a school teacher who later became a high school guidance counselor and is well educated with a masters degree, my father was a farmer in the beginning but later worked for the Commonwealth of KY.
I believe as do many addicts that I was born with the disease and it laid dormant until I took that first one, which happened around 10 – 12 yrs of age. My father not realizing the magnitude of his actions gave me a drink of this beer which changed my life for ever because this started the chase, it was the end of my innocence, It was like I had opened a window that I could never close.
From that point on I would sneak and take drinks from his beer every chance I got and the fact that I was sneaking tells me I knew it was wrong. I started sneaking and acting out in other ways as well, like smoking cigarettes, if it was wrong I was drawn to it It was also around the time in elementary school that I changed and my grades started to go from straight A’s to B’s, C’s and D’s and I was always into mischief.
I drank heavily in high school every chance I got but swore I’d never use drugs, that lasted until my freshman year in college when I met a girl who introduced me to marijuana and just like the beer I liked it right away. And just to be clear, my brain doesn’t know the difference between alcohol and drugs all it knows is that when I use any mood changing or mind altering substance it’s pedal to the medal and I don’t know how to stop. Looking back I would say addiction happened pretty quickly although I denied it vehemently, I was no addict. A drug abuser? Sure but not an addict, and that was my stance for close to 25 years and by the time I realized I was addicted it was too late.
I was in and had no idea how to get out.”
Real folks’ stories, perhaps it’s time we start really listening?
Here’s another good one, for starters. Proud2BProfane with Ross Cessna
Misunderstanding, misdiagnosing, exploiting . . . and that’s exactly where we are at, until further . . . notice?