A young friend of mine, who I am incredibly proud of, wanted to share these words with a wider audience. I have formatted them, and corrected some spelling, but the words, and the thoughts, are all hers.
I have used drugs for ten years of my life in one way or another, but recently upon a lot of reflection, I have realized I have been an addict as long as I can remember. I have been able to manipulate a situation and gain exactly what I want from it since I about three or four years old. I have always felt unloved; unworthy. And so, so, so bored.
Bored with being good, bored with the rules of society and although I never wanted to become a junkie, I never wanted to be “good”. Studies say once an addict always an addict, and in case you didn’t know, you are born an addict…. Drug use is only a symptom of the disease.
People have the wrong assumptions about the disease of addiction and about themselves. We’re seen as the outcast, the underground of society; or in plain and simple terms, a criminal.
Does the addict choose to use drugs? Yes.
Does the addict choose to commit crime? Yes.
But that patient with lung cancer….. he also choose to smoke for twenty years, yet his illness is recognized and treated to keep him alive.
An addict does not choose to be an addict, they do not dream of growing up to walk the streets and the night, sweating and shivering waiting for their guy. They are born into addiction. We as addicts have differently wired brains. I am not saying using drugs is ok, and I am not saying you have an excuse to be a junkie, not at all. But it is shown time after time that addiction is an illness and a personality defect: it is not a crime.
We, as a closed minded society, made it a crime. We pushed the addicts to the edges of society by walking past them on the street, by jailing millions of addicts across the world, crushing their chances of recovery…
“Ok, so what do you suggest?” you might be thinking, “have addicts running wild??”
No I do not suggest that.
If you are reading this, and you are a parent of or close to an addict, please show them some love, some compassion, and some empathy. Human beings naturally need to form connections and relationships, it is hard wired into us! When someone is born and grows up feeling unloved and unworthy of society (which a lot of addicts report feeling long before drugs ever came into play) they will seek a bond and connection with something else.
Drugs. Because ask any still active addict: drugs won’t leave you. Drugs will always be there. Drugs will always help forget you forget the fact that, your children have been taken away, that your mum thinks you’re a loser, and that your dad has given up on you. Drugs will always be there.
So if you know a suffering addict, and you know that they are alone, or have no food or money, don’t cut them off and cut them out. Have a coffee with them, give them a hug and show them, using or not, that you love them. That they are worth something… you don’t need to wait until they have hit rock bottom, or even until they are ready for help.
You can start helping them right now. Bring the addict in your life back into society and show them that they can have connections to people, without being harshly judged and thrown aside.
Someone once did that for me. Two people I love very, very, much held my hand and helped me push my way into normal society again. I am not saying it’s fun, because let’s face the facts: addicts are annoying, demanding, controlling and manipulative. They told me exactly that, and they never even made my actions “ok” and never accepted them, but they did accept me, time and time again. Fuck up after fuck up.
I promise every parent, sister, brother, friend out there that me hitting rock bottom- me being ridiculed and name called- that is not what helped. Being kicked out of society has never helped any junkie. It’s letting the junkie back into society that helps them, and ultimately they will choose recovery for themselves.
AFTERNOTE: I acknowledge I have used the word “junkie” a lot. Not a very PC word. But: I have learned to accept my truth: once a junkie always a junkie. Even ten or twenty years clean. So, please, don’t judge me for my use of this word. I use it with love, but also with realism. We addicts are junkies, just like a person who weighs 400lbs is “fat”. Junkie isn’t A BAD WORD, unless you make it one… so stop making the word junkie and bad one!!!!
Your friendly neighbourhood addict