Updated: Aug 20, 2018
If you have an alcoholic friend or family member clap your hands 1x.
If you know someone who's death was caused due to alcohol or who has died of an overdose clap your hands 2x.
If you would do absolutely anything within your power to get that person back and get them the help they needed and deserved clap 3x.
Now that I have everyone's attention...
I have been addicted to drugs and alcohol for over a decade, but you never knew. I became an expert at playing hide and seek, but I never wanted to be sought. I know how you will look at me in disgust. You will call me a loser. You will break-up with me. You will fire me. You will stop inviting me to family outings. You will stop picking up my calls and avoiding my texts. You will pretend I no longer exist. No one wants an alcoholic for a boyfriend. A drug addict working for you? No thanks. An alcoholic family member? Avoid at all costs.
We are taught at a very young age to never judge a book by its cover, it is what's inside that matters. Yet, in today's society everyone and everything has a label attached to them / it. You name it and there's a meme for it. If you dress a certain way you are this. If you listen to this type of music you are that. If you do drugs you're an addict. And if you're an addict then you clearly are _________ (insert any derogatory term you prefer). And once you are dubbed an addict you are stuck with that label. There is no going back now, no matter how far you have come in fighting the disease.
Alcoholism and addiction clearly are an ever-growing issue in today's society. The Opioid crisis is in full-blown attack mode and has taken our loved ones away at a disturbing rate. Here in Massachusetts alone, we lost nearly 2,000 people in 2016 from Opioid related overdoses. That is 2,000 families that have had their lives forever changed. Why, as a society, do we shun and judge these victims and those battling the horrific disease on a daily basis? Why do we turn the other cheek to the sick and suffering and do nothing but blame them? Is it simply due to ignorance? Or is it ingrained in us from a young age that alcoholics and addicts are simply bad people getting what they deserve?
Addiction will attack anyone at anytime anywhere. It does NOT discriminate. Doctors, lawyers, police officers, actors, athletes, teachers, waitresses, cooks. Kids, teens, adults, elderly. Caucasians, African- Americans, Latin-Americans, Asians, Native Americans. Rich or poor and everything in between. The working and the unemployed. Valedictorians and drop outs. Get the point? You don't have to be living on cardboard under a bridge and begging for change to be struggling with this difficult and misunderstood disease. Not all addicts and alcoholics are career criminals.
The negative stigma attached to the alcoholic and addict only confirms that as Americans we are judging millions of books without ever opening them. Alcohol is the only drug in this country that you must explain why you have stopped using it, and further, it's the only drug where you are seen clearly to have a problem with that moment you decide to STOP. The problem ends when you decide to stop using, whether it be alcoholic or any other drug, but we still are trained to call ourselves alcoholics because that's how society views us.
Everyday millions of Americans struggle with addiction and no one ever knows. The secret is kept because we know the stigma that will be attached to us. We know how we will be forever stereotyped so we keep hidden something we so dearly want to tell you. We want to be consoled, loved, and told everything will be okay. We so desperately just want help. But then you will judge us, calling us drunks, lushes, junkies, degenerates, and worst of all, failures.
The stigmas, judgments, and stereotypes given to us only hinder us from getting the help we want, need, and deserve. Heaven forbid you post on any type of social media that you have given up drinking. (I look forward to the ignorance that comes from this post!) The scrutiny that we would face can completely demoralize and dehumanize us, so we hold it in. The longer it builds up and festers inside of us the more shame begins to fill within us, and the pain incessantly grows. The answer to numbing this pain? Have a drink. Get high. And so the cynical cycle begins all over again.
Are you clapping now?
PLEASE ADD ME :)