Would It Make A Difference?

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There’s always been a debate on whether addiction is a choice or a disease. Is that the real question we need to focus on though?

One topic in particular that just weighs on my heart every time I read something about it, or hear something about it, is that good old ‘is it a choice or a disease?’ debate. 

If we knew the answer to that, would it really make a difference? Would it make our addictions any more or less if we could blame it on one particular thing? We would still educate and teach our kids the same ways and on the same things. We would still get lost in our addictions. Lose loved ones. Have children without parents. Put ourselves in dangerous and stupid positions just to get our next high. 

So, maybe this weighs heavy on me because I don’t have an answer. Maybe because I get defensive when people talk about “they made the choice, they deserve what they got” comments. Or maybe it just weighs on me because I’ve accepted that I can’t change the minds of other people, and with or without the answer, it still doesn’t give us a solution to the problem.  

I don’t know what I did to become an addict. I’m not sure if it was just a bad choice I made as a teenager, or if I was lucky enough to inherit it from my family. And to me, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that it did happen to me. I had a loving family growing up. I wasn’t surrounded by drugs or alcohol. Yet, the first time I took a drink of alcohol or smoked pot for the first time, I was in love with feeling anything other than “normal”. I never understood why I was like that.  I drank the same alcohol my friends did. They tried the same drugs I did growing up. I never understood how they could just walk away from everything. I never could. Everything I ever did I took to the extreme. There wasn’t anything I wasn’t willing to do to get that feeling.

It changed me. It literally rewired my brain and turned me into someone I didn’t even know was possible to become. I did lose absolutely everything, slowly but surely. I put people that I loved through absolute hell just because my brain told me ‘I needed it’. I watched my friends dying around me. I watched their kids look lost because they just didn’t understand. I watched people lose themselves so quick they didn’t even know what happened. But they were right there with me. I can guarantee not one single person in the world ever hoped that they would grow up to be an addict. To lie, cheat, steal and hurt the people that love them most. Not one single person. That’s why I’d like to believe it’s not a choice. But it’s still a reality that needs a solution.

So I guess what I’m saying is, if your focus is on whether an individual’s addiction was a choice or not, you’re missing the real question: What can we do to help our loved ones? Our kids. Our community. There are so many more resources than people realize, we need to advocate and help each other. Recovery is possible.

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