Every day Someone Dies From Addiction, Not Just Amy Whinehouse.
Recently yet another high profile addict died. Her young and untimely death seemed surprising to many, yet I wondered why they were so surprised. Amy Whinehouse was open, flagrant, and unapologetic about her love of drugs, and she felt disdain for those who didn’t “get it”. With few exceptions, when her name was mentioned, despite the fact that you may have heard a tiny blurb about her music, it was always in connection with her bad habits and worse behavior. Daily, she made a choice to live a life of an addict. Sadly.
We have Choices.
Some people feel this is a cold and unfeeling perspective to take. And yet, is it really?
We all have a choice, whether it’s what time we wake up in the morning, what time we go to bed at night, or if we go to bed at all. Every day we make choices that affect us and those around us—our children, our neighbors, our friends, our lovers, our employees, our co-workers, our followers.
When you are in middle of an addiction, you have no choice. You lose all sense of right and wrong, and the ability to make “right and healthy” choices. But once an opening has been created, where you are given the gift of recovery, it then becomes your choice what you do with it.
Addiction is not as complicated as some would have you believe, but it can be fatal.
When you do something over and over again, it becomes a working part of who you are. Whether it’s eating chocolate, engaging in porn, drinking, using drugs, overrating, gambling, raging, or playing with your hair … the more you engage in an activity, the more it becomes a habit. And while some theorists will argue the distinction between a habit and an addiction, it all comes down to the same thing—self destruction.
The fatal nature of alcoholism and drug addiction is that the vast majority of those afflicted will die a lonely and pathetic death. So if it’s such a deadly illness, why don’t more people stop the madness?
Here are two observations:
1. It’s just too hard. Most folks are not willing to be uncomfortable enough to get to the other side. They look for an easier softer way. But when it comes to kicking any habit, you just have to go through the pain.
2. The substance abuser gets too much encouragement and support in staying sick. Take for example when a substance abusing celebrity dies, the world is saddened. Yet where were those same folks when the person was making those bad choices? Buying their records? Watching their TV shows? Paying to see their movies? Following their tweets? Perhaps if we take away what matters to them: their toys, their children, their jobs, their spotlight, then maybe they’d have a reason to stop the madness. Look at Snooki, getting famous for acting REALLY badly.
What Does it Take to Get and Stay Clean & Sober—Over the Long Haul?
There are many factors which seem to account for long-term contented recovery, but it seems to begin and end with abstinence. Surprisingly this has become a debatable issue, commonly among people who continue to drink and use drugs and want justification for doing so. I’ll discuss this, and other observations, during my plenary session at the Addiction Studies Institute Conference next week in Columbus, Ohio. Please join the conversation here, on LinkedIn, on my Facebook Fan Page, and at the conference.