Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why We Shouldn't Be Self Righteous About Other People's Addictions

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

There is a blog post going around about how addiction is not a disease and that one chose to be an addict.

When you were in school, how many kids did you hear say, "I want to be a meth addict when I grow up."

Unfortunately, drugs often are used as coping skills.  Did you know that 88% of female drug addicts were sexually abused.   Of course there are women who have not been sexually abused who do not use drugs, but that's a staggering fact to me.  Would you say to a little girl who was abused by her father, "You chose this!"  Of course you wouldn't (or at least I hope you wouldn't.)  If you have not been in her shoes, you don't understand her choices.

I am NOT saying being an addict is a good thing, but how many of us have no addiction to anything? It might not be drugs or alcohol, but what about cutting, food, sex, or even caffeine.  (Yes, caffeine is an addictive substance.  Remember that next time you are in line at Starbucks!)

I believe many addicts become addicts as a way to cope with things they don't know how to handle. The mental health care in this country needs to be improved.  The argument can be made we all have things we need to deal with in life.  That is true, but not everyone is able to cope well, or even at an age to cope well.  I have a friend who is a former food addict who saw his mother raped in front of him when he was a toddler.

To say that no one should be allowed insulin because they are diabetic because they don't eat well would be a death sentence to those who are Type I diabetics and are so because their pancreas has quit working.  Did you know that one of the signs of pancreatic cancer is diabetes?  I had a good friend die of pancreatic cancer a month ago.  Would you say that Steve Jobs should have been been denied insulin?  (If so, put down your iPhone right now.)  While I don't know that Steve Jobs was diabetic, with pancreatic cancer, one can pretty well assume he was.  What about those who develop diabetes because of their lifestyle choices, though?

Stop and look at your lifestyle choices.  Do you exercise as often as you should?  Drink 8 glasses of water a day?  Eat the right amount of fruit and vegetables?  Are you overweight at all?  I think very few of us could say we are perfect.

Life is about learning to deal with what has happened to us, and it isn't easy, but compassion can go a long way.  I'm not saying to become an enabler, but let's not demonize those with addictions because I know I'm not perfect.  I doubt you are either.

My mother used to say, "But for the grace of God, there go I."  I can't judge anyone because I haven't been down the road they have traveled, but I can have compassion on their situation.

Some helpful books:

The Courage to Heal Workbook: A Guide for Women and Men Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation
Stopping the Pain: A Workbook for Teens Who Cut and Self Injure
 Caffeine Blues: Wake Up to the Hidden Dangers of America's #1 Drug 
The Life Recovery Bible
End Emotional Eating
Sex, Drugs, Gambling, and Chocolate: A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions

1 comment:

  1. With diabetes, there are many factors involved. It is not just someone who choose to eat poorly. I have eaten fairly nutritiously all of my life. However, on my mom's side, diabetes runs rampant. True, many of them may not have been healthy eaters, but when non-healthy eaters have children, I am sure the potential for disease is there. In fact, I wasn't diagnosed with diabetes until age 52. I honestly think it would have been way earlier if I hadn't loved every vegetable that crossed my path. Anyone who blindly looks at someone and judges someone, even if it was preventable, had better hope that they are not judged with the same microscope themselves.